The Times They Are A-Changing (for Estate Planners)

The corporate tax cut is permanent, but most individual provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub L 115–97, 131 Stat 2054) are set to expire for tax years beginning after December 31, 2025. These expiring provisions will tax the ingenuity and patience of estate planners and their clients. What to do? Continue reading

5 Estate Planning Options for Out-of-State Real Property

As any seasoned estate planner knows, it’s crucial to learn of all your client’s assets before developing a comprehensive plan. This is particularly important when it comes to out-of-state real property, which may be subject to that state’s potential inheritance or estate tax if left unaccounted. Add the costs and headaches of an ancillary probate, and your client’s loved ones will be left wishing for a better way. Lucky for you (and them), there is!ThinkstockPhotos-456864991.jpg Continue reading

IRS Left Holding the Bag After Investors Madoff with Millions

tax_100889473How much is a fictitious brokerage account worth, and what happens when it loses value? The IRS and the Tax Court have struggled with issues arising from the Bernie Madoff scandal. The answer may depend on when (and how) you ask the question. Continue reading

Tales of Hoffman: Postmortem Planning for Actor’s Estate

2013-07-catastrophe-122552905The tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has given us an opportunity to consider his estate planning, with lessons and strategies for the rest of us. 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

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

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading