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Death, Taxes and Miles: Where do your frequent flyer miles go when you’re gone?

When someone passes away, usually their next of kin, agent or fiduciary will begin to compile a list of the decedent’s assets.  Rarely will such a list include the decedent’s frequent flyer miles.  However, depending upon how many miles have been accrued during the decedent’s life, frequent flyer miles can be worth hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars.  In such cases, heirs or beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate may wish to benefit from the value the decedent has amassed in frequent flyer miles.

Transferring Miles

Most airlines allow for mileage transfer among the living, but it is usually an expensive task to accomplish, often accompanied by fees and yearly limits.  The transferability of frequent flyer miles upon death is no more simple.  Susan Stellin, the author of a New York Times article entitled “The Afterlife of Your Frequent Flyer Miles,” stated “I asked six airlines if they allow transfers

IRS Posts February Interest Rates

IRS Posts February Interest Rates

January 22, 2013

Authored by: Stephanie Moll

The Internal Revenue Service must have been kept as busy by the fiscal cliff in December as the rest of us were, because they never posted the January AFR on irs.gov.  They have, however, posted the February rates.  For February, the 7520 rate is increasing to 1.2%.

Almost Final Isn’t Final: The Fact That Divorce Was Nearly Final Does Not Prevent Spouse From Inheriting in Illinois Case

The Illinois Appellate Court in In re Estate of Doman issued a ruling on October 11, 2012 that once more clarifies why it is important to have a Will and, depending on circumstances, potentially a revocable trust. (See our prior posts on Why Do I Need a Will? (Part 1 and Part 2) and Why Do I Need a Trust?)

Trial Court Proceedings:

In the Doman case, Sara and Mark Doman were in the home stretch of their divorce when Mark died on July 4, 2011. On June 10, the trial court had issued a written dissolution judgment and reserved ruling on the ancillary issues, with a status hearing set for July 11. Sara’s attorney called the court on July 5 to inform the trial court of Mark’s death and the trial court entered a docket entry that stated, “Cause set for 7/11/11 is

Effects of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on Estate Planning

Unless you have been living on a tropical island with no television, cell service, or internet for the past few days, you have probably heard that the Federal government passed a new law this week, averting the “fiscal cliff” by the skin of their teeth (well, at least with respect to tax reform, it remains to be seen what will happen with spending cuts). While there are many portions of the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” (the “2012 Act”) that may apply to you (for example, see our prior post on the effects of the 2012 Act on charitable gifting), our focus now is on how the new law affects your estate planning.

The New Law

Since 2001, the transfer tax laws have been in a state of flux, with ever-changing exemptions, rates, expirations and sunsets. Now, for the first time in over a decade, the 2012 Act

Could theTax Relief Act Hurt Charitable Giving?

January 3, 2013

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From BryanCaveCharityLaw.com

Effective December 31, 2012, Congress passed The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 (the “Act”) to avoid the fiscal cliff and President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.  The full text may be obtained by clicking here.  In a Chronicle of Philanthropy article (which may be obtained by clicking here), Doug Donovan writes that the Act may hurt charitable giving in light of the fact the Act “reinstates a provision eliminated in 2010 that reduces itemized deductions by 3 percent of the amount that household income exceeds $300,000.”  Mr. Donovan goes on to explain that “[w]rite-offs grow more limited the more taxable income a person has and could reduce the value of deductions by up to 80 percent for the highest-income taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center.”

Cliff Diving Averted

Cliff Diving Averted

January 2, 2013

Authored by: Stephanie Moll and Matthew C. Jessee

Effective December 31, 2012, Congress passed The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 which, in part, sets the following policies.  President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law, although he has not said when.  More detailed analysis of the new law to come.

Tax Policy:

· Marginal Rates: Permanent extension of current policy up to $400,000 for singles, $450,000 for married couples.

· Capital Gains & Dividends: Permanent: 15% top capital gains and dividends rate up to $400k (singles), $450k (married); 20% rate for both above threshold.

 · Death Tax: Permanent extension of current policy on portability and unification with a $5M exemption indexed for inflation and a 40% top rate.

· PEP & Pease: Permanent relief from PEP & Pease under $250,000 (single), $300,000 (married).

· AMT: Permanently index AMT for inflation.

· Tax Extenders: Adopts package reported by Finance Committee in 2012, with a 2 year

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