Friday, March 7, 2014
Should a portability election be filed for the estate of every first spouse to die? What if the joint marital estates are relatively small? Is there a downside to overreliance on portability? Let’s consider how the deceased spouse’s unused exemption (DSUE) impacts planning in several different scenarios and consider the latest IRS guidance on extensions for filing the election from Revenue Procedure 2014-18.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tom Andrews (Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law) recently published an article entitled, Not so Common (Law) Marriage: Notes from a Blue State, 6 Est. Plan. & Cmty. Prop. L.J. 1 (Fall 2013). Provided below is the introduction to the article:
One of the continuing challenges for American marital property law in the twenty-first century, broadly understood, is what to do about property disputes between domestic partners who are not married. More precisely, the challenge is determining what to do when there are property disputes between unmarried intimate partners, whether heterosexual or homosexual. From what I can tell, this is as much of a challenge in Texas as it is in the rest of the country.
In the northwest corner of the country, we have a set of attitudes that, like many social and cultural norms, have found their way into our common law. These northwestern attitudes might not be so common, or at least so commonly understood, in Texas. Thus, the purpose of this article is to describe how my Blue State of Washington handles property disputes between domestic partners, as well as to discuss what Texas might be able to take from a Blue State approach.
Suffolk University Law School is launching a master of laws (LLM) program in taxation that will allow students to receive an LLM and juris doctor (JD) in the same amount of time it takes to receive a JD.
Suffolk will be the first law school in New England to offer a joint degree in tax LLM. Compared to the JD program, the only additional time spent would be in an intensive 12-credit, 10-week summer program beginning May 2015. Students would also have to take eight credits of required tax courses as well as six credits of tax electives.
Following their mother’s death, five sons discovered they did not know the Apple ID and password to her iPad.
Apple first asked them to provide written consent for the device to be unlocked, which was of course impossible. Apple then asked for proof they could have the iPad. Despite providing Apple with a copy of their mother’s death certificate, a solicitor’s letter, and copy of their mother’s will indicating she wanted her estate split between her five boys, Apple is still asking for a court order to prove their mother was the owner of the iPad as well as her iTunes account. Hiring a solicitor to go about getting a court order would of course cost more than the iPad itself. Says son Josh Grant, “It’s a bit cold of them not to treat things on a case-by-case basis.”
See Natalie Donovan & Kevin Core, Apple Security Rules Leave Inherited iPad Useless, Say Sons, BBC, March 5, 2014.
Special thanks to Alexander Good (2014 J.D. Candidate, Texas Tech University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.
As I have previously discussed, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway decided not to appeal a federal judge’s order to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear will instead be hiring outside attorneys to appeal the decision granting legal recognition to same-sex couples married out-of-state. Beshear believes the potential for “legal chaos is real” if a delay is not issued while the case is being appealed. Beshear says, “Other Kentucky courts may reach different and conflicting decisions. Employers, health care providers, governmental agencies and others faced with changing rules need a clear and certain roadmap. Also, people may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision.”
See The Associated Press, Ky. to Appeal Same-Sex Marriage Ruling, Cincinnati.com, March 5, 2014.
Special thanks to Edward J. Buechel (Raines, Buechel, Conley & Dusing, P.L.L.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.
Justin A. Kesselman (University of Massachusetts Amherest) recently published an article entitled, Can State Law Remedies Revive Statutes Stricken by ERISA's Preemption Provision?, ACTEC, Vol. 38, No. 2 and 3 (Fall 2012/Winter 2012). Provided below is the abstract to the article:
Since the United States Supreme Court's holding in Egelhoff that ERISA preempts state law revocation-on-divorce statutes, courts and legal scholars have attempted to fashion a way to apply the policies of these statutes to effect the presumed intent of an employee not to provide retirement plan benefits to a former spouse. This paper analyzes those efforts and contrasts the statutory remedy of imposing a constructive trust on the recipient of those benefits. In this author's view, the constructive trust is the sounder approach, because it preserves the presumption embedded in ERISA that an ex-spouse's continued presence in the plan documents is an expression of the participant's intent. Although the statutory approach will often produce a similar result, it fundamentally changes the nature of replacing a federal rule that errs on the side of the spouse with a state rule that errs against the spouse, the statutory remedy seems more likely to fall within ERISA's preemptive scope.
The American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education (ALI CLE) is sponsoring a CLE entitled, Planning For Medium-Sized Estates: Practical Strategies for Estate, Gift, and Tax Planning, on Wednesday- Friday, March 19- 21. Earn 21-25 CLE/ CPE credits, including ethics with just one program. Provided below is a description of the event:
With the new permanence of portability and the groundbreaking decisions of the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, estate planners have had to scramble to adjust to the new regulations, correct previous filings, update estate plans, and consider new tax and non-tax planning opportunities. Medium-sized estates, in particular, require a refreshed look so that clients can avoid negative tax consequences as well as take advantage of some new, potentially fruitful opportunities.
how Windsor and Perry affect planning for same-sex couples – what’s different and what stays the same? portability becoming permanent generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions today probate avoidance and more!
As I have previously discussed, Dave Camp, Republican Representative and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has been working on a tax reform plan for years. Camp’s plan has been released, but is not expected to pass. However, Camp’s proposed tax reform may be helpful in advising and fostering debate for tax reform.
Concerns over Camp’s plan include criticism over its complexity and that it includes gimmicks, such as hidden tax rates. Camp proposes ending state and local tax deductions, and Head of Household filing. Camp also proposes no longer allowing contributions to be added to traditional and non-deductible IRAs. Camp would however expand Roth IRA contributions to everyone.
See Howard Gleckman, Dave Camp's Tax Plan: A Brave Start But Lots of Gimmicks, Forbes, Feb. 26, 2014.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
A California couple was walking on their property when they stumbled upon a rusted, half-buried can. After taking a closer look, the couple found six cans containing 1,427 gold coins with an estimated value of $10 million.
The couple may be stuck with a mere finder’s fee after new information surfaced about the treasure’s likely origins. A historian has linked the coins to an unsolved 1900 gold heist at the San Francisco Mint. The face value of $27,000 and the fact that these coins are in chronological order add credence to the coins being the result of the heist.
See Ashlee Kieler, Couple’s $10M Gold Coin Find Could Be from 1900 San Francisco Mint Heist, Consumerist, March 4, 2014.
Special thanks to Kristen Vander-Plas (2016 Candidate for Doctorate of Jurisprudence, Texas Tech University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.
As I have previously discussed, the three adult children of late celebrity photographer Bert Stern, who is famous for snapping provocative photos of Marilyn Monroe, are currently locked in an estate battle with his young widow over his $10 million fortune.
The kids are now trying to introduce Stern’s psychiatry records to shed light on the 83-year-old Stern’s mysterious secret marriage to the 44-year-old Shannah Laumeister. Laumeister claims the records could damage Stern’s reputation and the value of his estate.
See Josh Saul, Fight Over Marilyn Monroe Photog’s Estate Takes Ugly Turn, New York Post, March 4, 2014.