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California’s New Transfer On Death Deed

February 24, 2016

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As of January 1, 2016, California allows the use of a “transfer on death” deed for real property.  A TOD deed essentially allows a person to execute and record a revocable deed, which grants real property to a beneficiary upon the grantor’s death.  Introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) via AB 139, the TOD is effective by operation of law, the primary purpose of which is to avoid the probate process (which is onerous and expensive in California) and to reduce the need for a revocable trust for certain individuals.

San Bernardino County has posted a sample form.

While the TOD deed may be useful in limited circumstances, it does not supplant the importance of having a revocable trust plan for many individuals.

Bryan Cave Shortlisted For 2016 Magic Circle Awards

Bryan Cave has made the shortlist for the prestigious Magic Circle Awards for 2016 under the category of “International Law Firm of the Year – USA”.

The Magic Circle Awards are held annually each Spring to recognize the best advisors in the financial sector on a global scale.

Congratulations to London Private Client Services Partner, Dyke Arboneaux

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Private Client Services Partner in London, Dyke Arboneaux, has been selected as both a speaker at the STEP Global Congress and as a judge for the 2016-2017 STEP Awards.

Dyke advises individuals, families and financial institutions on international estate planning and U.S. tax matters, with a particular emphasis in planning for clients who are exposed to both the U.S. and U.K. tax systems.

Congratulations!

IRS: Transcript Can Be Alternative to Estate Tax Closing Letter

Back in August, we wrote about how the IRS would no longer automatically issue closing letters for filed Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Returns.  Instead, the IRS will only issue closing letters upon request by the taxpayer.

However, on December 4, the IRS updated its Frequently Asked Questions on Estate Taxes website to provide estates with an alternative to requesting and obtaining an IRS closing letter:

“Account transcripts, which reflect transactions including the acceptance of Form 706 and the completion of an examination, may be an acceptable substitute for the estate tax closing letter.”

Further, transcripts are easily available:

“Account transcripts are available online to registered tax professionals using the Transcript Delivery System (TDS) or to authorized representatives making requests using Form 4506-T.”

Tax Benefits for Many U.K. Non-Doms to Be Reduced

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Last month, the UK government announced sweeping changes to the taxation of “resident non doms,” a classification of individuals who receive favorable tax treatment from the UK government.

The UK tax obligations of an individual depend in large part on the individual’s “domicile” under generally applicable English common law principles. (Unlike the US tax system, the citizenship of an individual is irrelevant under the UK tax system.) The UK income tax and capital gains tax systems (which operate as two separate regimes of tax) take into account the “residence” status of an individual, as well. The residence rules were massively overhauled with effect from 6th April 2013. Note that a UK tax year runs from April 6 to April 5 of the following years.

Because of quirks in the English common

Estate Planning for Digital Currencies

bitcoins182way   Over the last 20 years, the growth of digital assets has exploded. Almost everyone has a social media account of some kind, and photographs and music are almost all stored in digital form. Further, digital art is starting to be created, stored and sold online. While there are certain challenges to estate planning for these assets, one can take steps to make sure they are properly transferred to your desired beneficiaries upon your death.

A more difficult estate planning issue for digital assets lies in the form of cryptocurrency, which has also exploded in use in recent years. The most notable cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which has a market capitalization of upwards of $3.5 billion. (For the sake of accuracy, “bitcoin” is the name of the payment system as well as

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