Category Archives: Estates & Trusts

November Election and Estate Planning

The Presidential election is around the corner. What does that mean for estate planning? Probably nothing, particularly if the Executive Branch and Congress remain split among the parties. In the past four years, a Democratic President and Republican Congress has resulted in no significant estate tax legislation. Thus, after 10 years or so of uncertainty …

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song sampling

Prince Dies Without A Will; Special Administrator Appointed

Although the quote: “Where there is a will, there is a way” is meant to encourage perseverance, it also seems appropriate in the estate planning realm as a Last Will and Testament can guide surviving family members as to the disposition of assets after a person’s death.  In the case of Prince, the quote is …

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False claims act Supreme court

SCOTUS Decision Affects Diversity Jurisdiction of Business Trusts

Many registered investment companies and real estate investment trusts are organized as business trusts. Certain states, such as Maryland, Delaware, and Massachusetts have been hospitable to such entities, and therefore are home to many of these entities. In some states, such as Massachusetts, the entities are formed as common-law trusts, while in others there is a statutory …

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The Artist’s Legacy – Business and Legal Planning Issues

Photographers face unique issues that must be carefully considered to ensure a continued market for the creative output and to preserve the artistic reputation. Prudently managed business affairs will minimize problems commonly encountered when closing down a studio and during the transition of business affairs from the photographer’s life to the photographer’s estate. First, there …

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Same Sex Marriage and Tax Law…A Rough Landscape

Another tax season is upon us, and the hardships of complying with another annual tax return filing requirement affects most of us. However, for same sex couples, the hardships are further exacerbated by the different tax laws at the state level. At the time this post is published, same-sex marriage bans remain in place in …

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2014 Year-End Illinois Estate Planning: It’s Time for a Careful Review

As 2014 comes to a close, now is the perfect time for careful planning to address the income, estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes that can directly affect you.  In addition to making sure your estate plan is up to date, making a few important decisions now can reduce your tax liability later. Transfer Tax Exemption …

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Are iWills The Way of the Future?

Smartphones sure make lives a lot easier (and, arguably, busier). With a few taps of a screen, individuals can do everything from checking the weather to buying stock to engaging in FaceTime across the world. One individual in Australia recently came up with another innovative use for his smartphone. He used it to prepare his …

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In Estate Planning, Where There's a Will There's a Way

An August 15, 2014 article, by Robert Wood, in Forbes.com, told how many large companies, such as GM and Merck, pay zero taxes. It told how Apple avoided $9 billion in US taxes in 2012, according to a US Senate Report issued in 2013. In the estate world, billionaires such as George Steinbrenner, the Yankees …

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Tax Court Holds that a Trust can Qualify for the "Real Estate Professional Exception" of Section 469(c)(7)

The Tax Court recently handed down its decision in Frank Aragona Trust v. Commissioner, ruling that a trust can qualify for the real estate professional exception of Section 469(c)(7). By taking into account the actions of the trustees, a trust can be considered to be materially participating in real estate activities. This means that losses …

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U.S. Tax Court Rejects Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Restrictive View of Trust Material Participation

The U.S. Tax Court recently issued a taxpayer favorable opinion regarding how a trust materially participates in its activities. The court’s holding will make it easier for trusts to currently deduct expenses against non-passive income and to exclude income from the reach of the new 3.8% net investment income tax. In Frank Aragona Trust v. Comm’r, …

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