Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Unhappiness With Form 8971 Filing Requirements

Charitable trustThe IRS has recently issued final Form 8971 as well as instructions for a requirement that will now be placed on the executors of estates filing a Form 706. “The Form requires a schedule for each beneficiary which lists the assets received by the beneficiary and the estate tax value of those assets.” The purpose is to allow the beneficiary to be able to calculate the gain or loss on any assets they received. This new form will have to be filed within 30 days of the Form 706 filing. The process of filing a Form 8971 might be complex and difficult for practitioners. Some may argue for Congress to introduce an amendment to permit the deferment of the due date for the Form 8971 “until either actual distribution is made to the beneficiary or the assets to be distributed to the beneficiary can be precisely identified.”

See Charles Rubin, Form 8971 Filing Unhappiness, Rubin On Tax, February 3, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

February 4, 2016 in Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Drafting Of The Uniform Series LLC Act

New legislationThe Uniform Law Commission Drafting Committee met in Tucson to work on drafting the Uniform Series LLC Act. The Committee plans to eventually present its final drafting at the National Conference of Commissioner of Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) during the annual meeting that will be held on July 7-17 in Stowe, Vermont. The new proposals will “incorporate numerous feature meant to create make the proposed Uniform Series LLC Act the most transparent of the various existing state Series LLC acts.” It is not yet clear whether the NCCUSL will approve the Uniform Series LLC Act. In the past there has been some severe criticism from some state commissioners when preliminary drafts were introduced during the last two annual meetings. There are some states like Arizona and Virginia that “are considering Series LLC Acts of their own, and are waiting to see what NCCUSL does with the proposed Uniform Act.”

See Jay Adkisson, Drafting of the Proposed Series LLC Act Moves Towards July Test, Forbes, January 31, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

February 3, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Congress Might Soon Be Issuing Changes To Self-Directed IRA Rules

CongressSelf-Directed IRA's have been popular among retirement investors in recent years due to the ability for the IRA funds to be invested in nontraditional assets including a ongoing business concern. However, scrutiny has increasingly been focused on these IRA's by members of Congress particularly large balance retirement accounts that can contain upwards of $20 million. In particular, concern has emerged over the "gray areas" of the self-directed accounts since there has been little in the way of legal guidance from Congress, the tax court system, as well as through IRS regulations and revenue rulings. While no immediate action is expected to be taken, particularly since the Government Accountability Office has not completed it report, it is something to keep an eye on going into the future as the changes that are eventually made could have a major impact for some retirees that have been aggressive in their use of self-directed IRA's.

See, Pending GAO Report of Self-Directed IRAs, Fairview Law Group, January 13, 2016.

February 1, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Florida Senate Committee Sends Digital Assets Bill To Whole Chamber

FloridaThe management of digital assets after the death of the owner has been well covered on this blog and the need for action to be taken to allow access for executors and heirs. It seems the Florida Senate is thinking along the same lines after a bill that will grant access to online accounts passed through the hurdles of the committee that was assigned to review the proposed legislation. The bill would allow an individual to designate another that will be able to control the assets after death including social media, financial accounts, and email services. Another bill is being considered in the Florida House which is similar to the Senate version but has yet to move out of committee. No word on when final passage of the legislation can be expected.

See Jim Rosica, “DIGITAL ASSETS” BILL HEADING TO SENATE FLOOR, Florida Politics, January 20, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 22, 2016 in New Legislation, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nebraska Considers Right To Die Legislation

MedicalThe right to end one's own life when facing a terminal illness has been a raging debate in the last few years as several states have passed laws which legalize the ability of doctors to assist the patient in their quest to end suffering. Nebraska now joins the states that are considering right to die legislation with a new bill introduced in the state Senate which would apply to those with a terminal disease that only allows them six months or less to live. In addition, the patient would have to make two request in writing and orally backed up by two witnesses in addition to any requirements imposed in a doctor making the diagnosis. Supporters argue that it grants dignity to those facing a prolonged, painful death by allowing them to end their days in the comfort of their own home instead of suffering or having to travel to another state. However, opponents argue that, in addition to the moral qualms, patients may face pressure to end their lives prematurely in order to save money and impose less of a burden on family. In any event, this issue is growing in importance as more states debate legislation that will free their citizens to exercise their right to die without harming those that assist in the process.

See, Nebraska lawmakers to consider aid-in-dying legislation, The Independent, January 20, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 21, 2016 in Current Affairs, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Regulations Published By Feds Concerning Gun Trusts

GunGun trusts have long been popular with firearms enthusiast due to their ability to sidestep federal laws which restricted ownership of certain types of weapons such as fully automatic guns and silencers. Recently, new regulations were published concerning the application process and clarifying certain terms related to the trust. One of the major changes made is that CLEO certifications are no longer needed with only a notice given to "responsible persons" which is now limited to trustees and some beneficiaries. For a beneficiary to be considered a "responsible person" they must have the power to hold, transfer, or dispose of the  firearm which clarifies a previous version of the regulation which created ambiguity. The new regulations will be effective stating on July 13th, 2016 with all applications before that time being controlled by the previous incarnation of the rules.

See David M. Goldman, 41F Published: Some Gun Trusts will have problems, Gun Trust Lawyer, January 15, 2016.

January 19, 2016 in New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New York Legislation Seeks To Allows Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill Patients

MedicalA bill to allow doctor assisted suicide has been introduced in the New York legislature. The bill would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives on their own terms as long as they have the consent of two doctor's that sign off on the fact the disease is terminal in addition to two witnesses for when the patient signs the documentation authorizing the suicide. If the law is passed, New York would join a small but growing number of states, most recently California, that would allow terminal patients to have a measure of control restored to them that a disease has taken away. Advocated argue that confirming this human right would grant relief to those that are suffering and prevent them from having to leave their home to travel to a place that will not maliciously prosecute those that helped them achieve their aim. But critics have been quick to counter that laws such as these could create pressure by families to end a life prematurely simply to avoid the financial burden of continued care let alone the religious implications for some. In any case, the New York legislation does not appear to be on the fast track to passage, as even the bill's sponsors admit, with doubts about it's ability to receive a floor vote this year let alone be signed into law.

See David Klepper, Advocates for assisted suicide push for law, WCAX, January 12, 2016.

January 13, 2016 in Current Affairs, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Canadian Province Contemplates Removing Some Elder Law Issues Out Of Courts

GavelThe Canadian province of Ontario is contemplating a change that would remove certain elder law issues from the courts to a specially created administrative board. The Consent and Capacity Board would hold hearings on disputes involving, among others things, property management of an incapacitated individual and capacity. The Board would be made up of lawyers and medical professionals with those appearing before the Board being without representation although they will have an attorney appointed to assist them. In addition, the board would hold hearings withing 7 days of a request instead of the months it sometimes takes the court system to get to the same point. As of now, the proposal has not been considered by the Ontario legislature although it has been recommended for consideration by the Law Commission of Ontario.

See Jacques Gallant, Elder-care disputes may be moved out of courts, The Star, January 11, 2016

January 12, 2016 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Oil Crash And New Legislation May Threaten Alaska's Trust Friendly Status

ScissorsOil has been in a free fall over the previous year and has hurt the interest of states with economies closely tied to the energy industry. One of the hardest hit states has been Alaska which has traditionally used oil revenue to provide much of the states budget and spared the citizens an income tax. However, new legislation has been introduced which would introduce a tax on all income with a source in Alaska regardless of the residence of the taxpayer. This is a problem because income from trust administered in the state would be subject to the tax including payouts to a beneficiary which would necessitate filing tax returns in the state. For years Alaska had been viewed as a haven for trust due to it's friendly laws but this change could potentially force it down a tier and cause an administration exodus to Nevada or South Dakota. Currently the bill remains in the House and has yet to be considered by the Senate.

See Todd Ganos, Embattled Oil Creates Slippery Slope For Alaskan Trusts, Forbes, December 22, 2015.


December 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 21, 2015

House Seeks To Stop IRS From Requiring Social Security Number For Charitable Gifts

IRSRecently, the IRS indicated they were considering a new a rule which would require charities to take down the social security number of any donor that made a contribution of $250 or more. However, the immediate reaction from the nonprofit community was intensely negative due to concerns about the ability of smaller charities to be able to protect confidential information and fears that otherwise larger donors would intentionally give just under the $250 threshold. Now a bipartisan bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives which would strip away the ability of the IRS to implement such a regulation with immediate support being given from a range of charities and nonprofit organizations. In addition, similar legislation has been promised in the Senate by Sen. Pat Roberts although the details of his proposal have not yet been released. In any event, it is heartening to see quick action from Congress to stop the IRS from forcing a highly unpopular and potentially devastating regulation on the nonprofit community.

See Andy Segedin, Legislation Introduced To Block IRS’s Donor SSN Rule, The Nonprofit Times, December 18, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)