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Elder Law Estate Planning Legal Topics

$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.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

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.

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Elder Law Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

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.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics New Legal Developments Tax Law

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.

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Elder Law Estate Planning Legal Topics

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? 

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Estate Planning Family Law Legal Topics New Legal Developments

Going to the Chapel or Staying Alive: Marital Deduction for Registered Domestic Partners after Windsor

blog_78156121It may not be too soon to draw some inferences from the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v Windsor extending federal law benefits of marriage to lawfully married same-sex spouses. 

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Estate Planning Legal Topics Real Property Law Tax Law

Second Bite at the Apple: How Unregistered Domestic Partners (and Other Cotenants) Can Still Avoid Property Tax Reassessment

tax_123145005Do you own a house with someone and don’t want to register as domestic partners, but you still want an exclusion from a change in ownership for property tax purposes when you die? Now you can. Here’s how it works.

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Estate Planning Legal Topics

Tax Tip for California Resident Trustee with Nonresident Beneficiaries

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We don’t usually give tax tips, but here’s one in honor of the season.

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Elder Law Estate Planning Tax Law

Give and Get: Act Now for Tax Benefit!

hurry_159269664The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA-2012) (Pub L 112-240, 126 Stat 2313) allows IRA owners to make retroactive direct distributions to charity for 2012. It could be a good deal for you or your clients, but you have to act by January 31, 2013—this week!—to take advantage of it.

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Elder Law Estate Planning Legal Topics

No Means No for Successor Trustee of Special Needs Trust With No-Compensation Clause

trustee_99933680A trustee is entitled to compensation for services as provided in the trust instrument when the trust “provides for a trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15680(a)), or “reasonable compensation” when the trust instrument “does not specify the trustee’s compensation” (Prob C §15681). But what if the trust provides for no compensation? In that case, the trustee is out of luck.