Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, July 6, 2015

Conservatives Plan To Lower U.K. Inheritance Tax For Homes

Royal_Coat_of_Arms_of_the_United_Kingdom_(HM_Government)_svgThe Chancellor of the Exchequer, the British version of a Treasury Secretary, has announced changes to the inheritance tax threshold when it comes to family housing. The current amount needed to trigger the tax is £650,000 for a married couple but the new rules will allow for a £175,000 allowance to each spouse when a primary residence is being inherited. This change was proposed in the previous parliament but was blocked by the Liberal-Democrats who were, at the time, in coalition with the Tories.

See Svenja O'Donnell & Angelina Rascouet, Osborne Plans to Raise Inheritance Tax Threshold in Budget, Bloomberg, July 3, 2015.

July 6, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IRS Set To Issue New Regulations Taking Away Key Estate Planning Tactic

Beyer Blog IRS LogoSetting up a family partnership or LLC and transferring assets to the entity is a popular estate planning tactic. The transfer of certain assets that are considered illiquid, such as minority shares in a family corporation, receive a discount on the value of the asset. This tactic was originally created to protect the family of a minority share holder from having to sell for a bad deal in order to pay an inflated tax bill. However, estate planners seized on the rule and began to create entities that, while technically in compliance, violated the spirit of the valuation break by transferring items like a personal art collection and still getting the discount. The new regulations are expected in September and many planners are having clients form the entities now in order to protect against any changes.

See Robert Milburn, IRS Considers New Tax on Wealthy Families, Barron's, June 30, 2015.

July 1, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Democratic Presidential Candidate Proposes Estate Tax Increase

Bernie SandersSen. Bernie Sanders called for legislation that would radically overhaul the current estate tax system. His proposal lowers the tax exception to $3.5 million per person and applies multiple rate tiers, ranging from %40 to %65, to an estate based on value. These changes conflicts with recent Republican efforts to repeal the estate tax, a measure that found support in the House which passed 240-179. As election season progresses, more proposals will emerge from candidates and offer a glimpse into the future of the estate tax.

See Ashlea Ebeling, Bernie Sanders Calls For 65% Top Estate Tax Rate, Forbes, June 25, 2015.

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

June 26, 2015 in Current Events, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

French Government To Release Digital Rights Bill Ahead Of Vote

Fench GovernmentIn a move made with public opinion in mind, the French government has pledged to release the full text of a digital rights bill before debate is held in the legislature. The update of online gambling legislation and net neutrality are expected, among many other issues, to form the key provisions of a bill many hope will bring French law up to date on fast moving issues. This release is unprecedented in France as the text of a bill has not traditionally been released and was only available to members of the government. Ministers hope the public will be motivated to participate in debate by this gesture, however, only time will tell how it will work out.

See French public to vote on digital rights, Out-Law.com, June 22, 2015.



June 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Defense Department Sends Military Pension Reform Plan To Congress

Depart DefenseThe Department of Defense sent to Congress a plan which would alter the current defined benefits retirement plan to a 401(k) style plan. Under the proposal, almost all members of the military would vest in the plan with those under four years of service time being required to contribute most of funds with government contributions rising significantly when the fourth year begins. The primary advantage of the plan is that it will save the department over $800 million per year and help with budget restraints that have been imposed.  But not everyone is on board, The American Legion, a veterans group, is worried that the proposal would create uncertainty about retirement for soldiers with the switch from a defined benefit to contribution plan. No word yet on when Congress may act on the proposal.

See Jennie L. Phipps, Military Finalizes New Retirement Plan, Bankrate, June 12, 2015.

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

June 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Swiss Head To Polls To Vote On Inheritance Tax

Swiss FlagThe Swiss will soon head to the polls to vote on a new nationwide inheritance tax that is designed to replace a collection of local laws. The tax would be %20 of any inheritance directly by a child that is worth more than $2.2 million. However, the legislation is facing tough opposition from the business community who say the new tax would hurt small family firms and cost the country jobs. The vote will take place on June 14th.

See Neil MacLucas, Swiss to Vote on Federal Inheritance Tax, Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2015.


June 9, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

In 1215 At Runnymede The Nobles And The King Agreed...

King JohnMagna Carta was an agreement that forced the hated Angevin King John to recognize certain key rights of the nobility. This document helped initiate the development of the English system of constitutional government that now predominates in much of the Western world. But, by a historical quirk, the charter became a more potent symbol of liberty in the United States rather than its home country. This article explains why and details some of the history behind one of the seminal agreements of the last 1,000 years.

See Daniel Hannan, Magna Carta: Eight Centuries of Liberty, Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2015.

Special Thanks To Melissa Stone Myers For The Recommendation.

June 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Estate Tax Repeal Efforts Face Uphill Battle

Estate tax reformThe U.S. of Representatives recently passed a bill to abolish the federal Estate Tax (Death Tax).  In order to become law this bill is going to have to survive a number of hurdles.  The Bill would first need to pass through the Senate with 60 votes to bypass a filibuster.  Republicans currently have a 54 seat majority, so they would need the votes of at least six Democrats to reach the necessary 60 vote threshold.  Even if the bill manages to get through the Senate, it would still need to be signed into law by the President.  Convincing President Obama to sign this bill would be a difficult task given his expressed position in support of maintaining the estate tax.  Given the current political realities, efforts to abolish the estate tax will probably not be successful until at least after the 2016 elections. 

See Tom Nawrocki, The politics of repealing the estate tax, LifeHealthpro, May 27, 2015.

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

May 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ireland Becomes First Country To Legalize Same Sex Marriage By Popular Vote

Beyer Blog Gay Pride FlagIreland, a country once known for its ultra conservative social values, has become the first country in the world to legalize same sex marriage through popular vote. Turnout reached 60% and victory was by a two to one margin as young Irish turned out in force to pass the constitutional amendment. As late as the early 90's same sex relationships were banned in Ireland and subject to criminal penalties. This vote is being hailed as a game changer by gay rights advocates who hope this will spur further referendums in other parts of the world.

See Danny Hakim & Douglas Dalby, Ireland Votes to Approve Gay Marriage, Putting Country in Vanguard, New York Times, May 23, 2015.


May 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Newest Amendments To The Florida Probate And Trust Code

Florida_signThe 2015 amendments by the Florida legislature to the Trust and Probate Code are now available. The changes include rules on reasonable charges for attorneys fees and cost to an estates or trust, a lawyers fiduciary duties while serving as a trustee, personal service on entities assigned to administer an estate, and what notice of administration must be filed. If you work in anyway with Florida wills and trust then this article is a must read.

See Brian Spiro, 2015 Amendments to Florida Probate Code and Florida Trust Code, Clark & Skatoff, May 19, 2015.

May 21, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts, Weblogs, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)