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Estate Planning Legal Topics New Legal Developments Tax Law

Pass the Pease, Please: A Modest Proposal to Help Out the “Fiscal Cliff” Negotiations

cliff_158409051Updated January 4, 2013: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 restores the original 3 percent phaseout of itemized deductions for income above $300,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $250,000 for single taxpayers. The Act also restores the 39.6 percent top rate for income above $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $400,000 for single taxpayers.

Most readers are aware that many provisions of the tax law “sunset” or expire at the end of 2012 if nothing happens before the end of the year.  One little-noticed provision could help both sides move beyond the current impasse.

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Estate Planning Family Law Legal Topics Tax Law

Whither Windsor: What to Do About the Estate Tax Marital Deduction While the Court Considers DOMA

hands_147261872Updated: The Supreme Court heard oral argument in Windsor v U.S. on March 27, 2013, with negative implications for domestic partners, as discussed in the April 2013 issue of CEB’s Estate Planning & California Probate Reporter.

The U. S. Supreme Court’s grant of review in Windsor v U.S. puts the marital deduction in doubt for same-sex surviving spouses but it doesn’t change the advice: for now, practitioners should keep filing estate tax returns claiming the marital deduction until someone tells them to stop.

Categories
Elder Law Estate Planning New Legal Developments Tax Law

Estate Planning in the Age of Obama: Where Is Tax Law Headed?

The unexpectedly decisive re-election of President Obama, and the apparent stability of his electoral coalition, confronts estate planners with a new political reality. Here are my thoughts on where tax law is likely to go.

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Business Law Estate Planning Legal Topics New Legal Developments Tax Law

Marilyn Monroe and the 50-Year Hitch: Star’s Heirs Bound to New York

It’s hard to argue that a decedent who died at home was a resident of somewhere else, but the estate of Marilyn Monroe, who was found dead in her Brentwood home in 1962, has always maintained that she was a domiciliary of New York. The estate’s executor took that position in probate proceedings and in dealings with California tax authorities, which found that most of Monroe’s assets were exempt from state inheritance taxes. But now Monroe’s heirs are claiming she was domiciled in California because they prefer California law on the right of publicity.

Categories
Estate Planning Legal Topics Real Property Law Tax Law

Joint Tenancy Transfers in Trust May Avoid Reassessment—But Not For Much Longer

Updated 2/22/17. Another 5 years have passed and the State Board of Equalization (BOE) still has not eliminated the loophole that allows property owners to avoid reassessment on a joint tenancy transfer at death to a person not eligible for exclusion as a spouse, registered domestic partner, cotenant, parent, or child of the transferor. As amended in 2013, the regulations continue to provide that tenants-in-common can transfer property to themselves as joint tenants and become original transferors under Rev & T C §65. This means there will be no change in ownership on the subsequent death of a joint tenant. For example, siblings receiving property as tenants in common on the death of a parent may postpone reassessment until the death of the survivor by retaking title as joint tenants. See 18 Cal Code Regs §462.040(b)(1), Example 4; Letter to Assessors No. 2013/044 (Sept. 2013).

Categories
Estate Planning Legal Topics Tax Law

What’s the Value of Illegal Art?

If an inherited artwork is illegal to sell, should the beneficiaries of the artwork be taxed on a value of zero or on the appraised value as if the artwork were legally salable, or possibly somewhere in between? That’s the issue in a case discussed in a recent New York Times article and it raises an interesting debate among experts on estate taxation.