Category Archives: Estates & Trusts

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 …

Read more »

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 …

Read more »

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 …

Read more »

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, …

Read more »

Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day: Why an Advance Directive is a Crucial Part of Estate Planning

Today is a day that, until recently, I wasn’t aware had any independent significance other than being April 16. However, April 16 is – and has been for the past seven years – National Healthcare Decisions Day. You can see the website dedicated to this purpose here: www.nhdd.org Planning with an advance directive for health care decisions is only …

Read more »

Illinois Trust Taxation Deemed Unconstitutional

In Linn v. Department of Revenue, the Illinois Fourth District Appellate Court reviewed the state’s statutory framework for taxing trusts. Linn v. Department of Revenue, 2013 Il App (4th) 121055.  On constitutional grounds, the court limited Illinois’ power to impose taxes under its “once subject to tax, forever subject to tax” regime. This case creates planning opportunities to …

Read more »

Has Your Trust Lost Touch With Illinois? If So, It May Not Be Subject to Illinois Income Tax

  Overview In December 2013, an Illinois Appellate Court of the Fourth District held that an inter vivos trust – that had no connections with Illinois other than the fact that the settlor of the trust was residing in Illinois when the trust was created – was not subject to Illinois income taxation.  Linn v. Department …

Read more »

The Complicated Landscape of US Estate Tax

Canadians who own assets in the U.S. may be subject to U.S. estate tax. This tax is based on the fair market value of all U.S. assets owned at the time of death. It can reach 40%, depending on the value of U.S. assets and the world-wide estate. But not all Canadians who own U.S. …

Read more »

Planning for Disabled Beneficiaries in Ontario

Whether you own Cross-Border assets or not, when dealing with the transfer of assets to a disabled beneficiary who is resident in Ontario, special planning may be needed to preserve your disabled beneficiary’s entitlement to certain benefits he or she may be receiving, or may be entitled to receive in future. The Ontario Disability Support Program (“ODSP”) is a …

Read more »

Same Sex Marriages: Are You Filing Your Taxes Properly?

  In late 2013, I met with my first same sex couple clients since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year.  If you recall, DOMA  was the federal law barring the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages legalized by states.  It was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as …

Read more »