Friday, October 10, 2014

samesexmarriageIn light of all of the changes in same-sex marriage laws happening over the past couple of weeks, we thought we’d share some of the information presented by our attorneys at the CLE presentation in our St. Louis office on Wednesday morning, “Same Sex, Different Day:  Estate Planning for Same Sex Married Couples (Post Windsor decision), co-sponsored by the Bryan Cave LGBT Affinity Group.  Presenters were Kimberly Civins, Stephen Daiker, and Douglas Stanley, along with Tony Rothert from the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.

Get income tax advice regarding amending returns and filing returns going forward

The sooner the better, as there is a 3 year statute of limitations for amending returns if filing as married achieves a better tax result!

Get estate documents reviewed/updated to take advantage of spousal tax reduction opportunities

Double-check beneficiary designations for retirement plans

Remember–spouses have to consent on some retirement plans to someone else being named as beneficiary!

Review any marital or co-habitation agreements regarding income tax benefits affecting property rights

Thursday, October 9, 2014

guysheartsIn light of all of the changes in same-sex marriage laws happening over the past couple of weeks, we thought we’d share some of the information presented by our attorneys at the CLE presentation in our St. Louis office on Wednesday morning, “Same Sex, Different Day:  Estate Planning for Same Sex Married Couples (Post Windsor decision), co-sponsored by the Bryan Cave LGBT Affinity Group.  Presenters were Kimberly Civins, Stephen Daiker, and Douglas Stanley, along with Tony Rothert from the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.

Plan, plan, plan:

  • Will/Living Trust
  • Healthcare Directives
  • Pre-nuptial Agreement
  • Beneficiary Designations
  • Asset re-titling

Consider income tax consequences

Consider whether various federal agencies will honor marriage based on residence state

Consider state of residence laws regarding other family issues such as adoption and divorce

Consider ceremony jurisdiction (California, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Minnesota and Vermont are favored because of favorable divorce laws)

  • These states will issue divorces for couples married in the state even if they don’t reside there at the time of the divorce, which could be important if your state of residence doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage and, therefore, may not issue you a divorce
Friday, October 3, 2014

conservationThe increasingly popular conservation easement charitable deduction allows a landowner to deduct a portion of the value of a piece of land by limiting the land’s use.  In a typical scenario, a landowner records a conservation easement on the land and then donates the conservation easement to a conservation organization.  The landowner receives an appraisal of the value of (i) the developable land and (ii) the land once the conservation easement has been recorded.  The landowner then deducts the difference as a charitable contribution.  In such a scenario, Section 170 of the tax code allows a deduction as long as the easement is perpetual, made to a qualified organization, and for a valid conservation purpose.

The typical scenario is changing, however, as more and more landowners are holding their property in trust.  When the land is held in trust, it is more difficult to deduct a conservation easement. (more…)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

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Originally posted on August 18, 2011 here.

It’s back to school time, and if you have college-age children, you’re probably busy helping them get organized to leave home.  While most packing lists include extra-long twin sheets and expressly forbid hotplates, there’s something else your budding intellectual shouldn’t leave home without: basic financial and medical estate planning documents.  If your children are over 18, federal privacy laws protect their financial and medical information.  Three basic estate planning documents will authorize you to act on behalf of your child, in the event that your child cannot make such decisions for him- or herself.

A Durable Power of Attorney for financial purposes designates an attorney-in-fact to act on your child’s behalf in all financial, tax, legal, investment, and insurance matters if your child becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make decisions for him- or herself relating to those matters.  (more…)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

453779831 (1)In our previous posts, Estate Planning for Digital Assets and Bitcoins and other Hidden Assets, we discussed how to protect online assets with a digital estate plan.  Administering an estate with digital assets such as e-mail, online accounts, social media accounts, and online photo albums is an ever-growing issue among estate planners. As the digital age continues to grow, a client’s online presence has become another asset of value, but how such assets pass remains elusive to many. Although digital assets are a form of personal property, ownership rights and privacy controls are governed by a myriad of federal laws, state laws, privacy laws, copyright laws and intellectual property laws. (more…)

Monday, August 11, 2014

casey-kasem-reuters-208x300More than a month after his death at age 82, Casey Kasem’s body still has not been buried and now is missing from the Washington state funeral home where it was being held, according to a recent statement from the publicist for his daughter, Kerri Kasem.

Kasem’s body disappeared around the same time that Kerri Kasem was granted a temporary restraining order she sought to prevent Casey Kasem’s second wife (and the step mother of three of his four children, including Kerri), Jean Kasem, from cremating Casey’s remains or removing them from cold storage. Kerri was seeking a court order allowing Kerri to obtain an autopsy of her father’s body. Kerri has stated that in light of threats by Jean to sue Kerri for elder abuse and wrongful death she is concerned about how the results of any autopsy that Jean may have commissioned might be used.

According to news reports, Casey’s three older children believe Jean had his body moved to a funeral home in Canada, but do not know if his remains have been disposed of. (more…)

Monday, July 14, 2014

ClintonSenateWhile constant attention is being given to Hillary Clinton’s potential decision to run for the presidency in 2016 and the release of her latest book, Hard Choices, last month, news sources recently reported that she and former President Bill Clinton have taken advantage of several of the estate planning techniques recommended by trusts and estates attorneys for high net worth individuals.

This is interesting, in part, because the Clintons support the estate tax and have not been in support of its repeal.

According to reported sources, each of the Clintons created a qualified personal residence trust and each contributed his or her 50% ownership interest in their Chappaqua, New York house to his or her respective trust. A qualified personal residence trust, commonly called by its acronym QPRT, is an IRS sanctioned estate planning technique.  The creator of the trust places a residence or interest in a residence in the trust, retains the right to live in the trust for a term of years, and after the term the trust asset or the residence passes to a beneficiary.

The Internal Revenue Code has special rules which help calculate the value of the “gift” made by the creator to the QPRT. The gift portion, which could offset some of the $5,340,000 exemption allotted to individuals in 2014 is not the entire value of the residence, but the value of the residence when transferred reduced by the value of the retained use by the creator for the trust term.

By having each of the Clintons create a separate QPRT with only a 50% interest in the residence, the value of such interest may also be eligible for a discount for owning less than a majority interest.

In order for a QPRT to work, the creator of the trust must outlive the trust term.  But for a relatively healthy individual, it is quite likely for this to happen.

(more…)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

465435421POLST, or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, is an approach to end-of-life care that encourages discussions between patients and their health care providers. The goal of POLST is to enable patients to choose the treatment they want or do not want, and to ensure that those preferences are honored. (more…)

Monday, June 9, 2014

451594605In an environment in which states are continuously searching for methods of increasing tax revenues, a major consideration for any settlor, beneficiary or trustee of a trust should be where the trust might be subject to income tax. The days of a trust being taxed in the state where it has its “principal place of administration” are quickly fading, as we enter into a new era in which states are increasing attempting to tax trusts with minimal contacts to the jurisdiction. (more…)