Bing Crosby’s Estate Wins Publicity Rights Following Fred Astaire’s Footsteps

Bing_Crosby_in_Road_to_Singapore_trailerWhat do Bela Lugosi, Fred Astaire, and now Bing Crosby have in common? Astaire and Crosby appeared together in the film Holiday Inn, but all three have shaped the law on a deceased personality’s right of publicity. Continue reading

Pro and Cons of a Durable Power of Attorney

175660493Every estate plan should consider potential incapacity. In California, one of the primary vehicles used to plan for an individual’s incapacity is a durable power of attorney for financial management (DPOA) (the other is an advance health care directive for health care decisions, see Being Prepared Is Ageless: Everyone Should Have an Advanced Health Care Directive). Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a DPOA.

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The Net, Net Gift That Keeps on Giving (But It’s Risky)

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Good news, bad news. The Tax Court has approved a gift tax avoidance scheme, but there’s a catch. Continue reading

When to Get a Neuropsychologist on the Case

149463035When there are issues involving your client’s capacity or the existence of undue influence, you may want to get a neuropsychologist on the case to perform assessments and/or act as an expert witness. Continue reading

$50 Fee for Lodging Wills May Be Double Trouble for Executors

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905Ever since the graduated probate fee was declared unconstitutional in Estate of Claeyssens (2008) 161 CA4th 465, the legislature has been nickel-and-diming estate planners and their clients with filing fees. Now we have to deal with multiple fees for lodging wills, which used to be free. Continue reading

Tell It to the (Tax Court) Judge: If You Prefer District Court, Pay the Tax First and Then Ask for a Refund

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Michael Jackson is back in the news. The IRS added some $700 million to the reported value of Jackson’s estate, based on posthumous publicity rights valued by the estate at $1200. The news brought to light an interesting issue: To get a regular trial with a district judge on a tax deficiency, you have to pay the tax first. Continue reading

Portability—Game Changer for Estate Planning or More of the Same?

148037463Estate planners are taking a second look at portability—the use of a deceased spouse’s lifetime exclusion by the surviving spouse—now that the law on this subject has been made permanent. Continue reading

Going to the Chapel in Another State: IRS Ruling Extends Same-Sex Marriage to Couples Nationwide

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In a swift and decisive ruling, the IRS concluded that same-sex couples lawfully married in the state of celebration are married for federal tax purposes regardless of residence. Rev Rul 2013–17. The ruling effectively extends same-sex marriage to couples nationwide. Continue reading

Catastrophe or Choice: Actor’s Estate Plan Comes Under Scrutiny

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905The estate plan of deceased actor James Gandolfini has been labeled a “disaster,” a “catastrophe,” and “a nightmare from a tax standpoint.” But was it, in fact, a costly mistake, or was it simply a considered choice?  Continue reading

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