Hurricane Relief by IRS!

Unfortunately, many of us have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Fortunately the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recognizes the devastation caused by these natural disasters which affect taxpayers, not only emotionally and physically, but financially. In a recent news release, IR-2017-150, issued on September 12, 2017, the IRS extended the deadline…

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Read the Fine Print of Your Beneficiary Designation Form!

When an individual opens an individual retirement account (“IRA”), the beneficiary designation form must be completed.  If married, many individuals will name their spouse first and then their children, if any. While this designation may or may not be good planning, an issue can arise if these named beneficiaries are…

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Be Careful Who You “Friend”!

A recent email from my colleague, Joe Corsmeier, who writes an excellent blog on lawyer discipline and various ethics opinions, points out an issue of which practicing lawyers need to be aware. In a recent Miami case, a motion was made to recuse a judge because the judge was “friends”…

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Do You Have Proper Substantiation For That Charitable Deduction?

Many of us make annual or weekly contributions to a favorite charity, whether a religious institution, school, hospital or other charitable organization. Often taxpayers “assume” they can take a deduction on their income tax return for the contribution just by writing a check. The ability to take the deduction is…

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IRA Saves A Missed Alternate Valuation Election

When an estate exceeds the applicable exclusion amount (the “Exemption”) of $5.490 million, a taxpayer is required to file a Form 706 for the decedent’s estate. Under the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”), assets are valued as of the date of death. However, the Code provides that IF the value…

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Relief for Late Filed Portabilty Elections!

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has offered needed relief for portability elections. Portability, discussed in  a prior blog, can save a surviving spouse’s beneficiaries over $2 million (in 2017) in estate taxes!  However, to utilize such savings, the surviving spouse must make a portability election on a properly filed Form…

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Can You Reform an Invalidly Executed Trust?

What happens when a trust is not executed properly? Can the trust be reformed after the grantor’s death? In some cases, yes. However, in Kelly, et. al. v. Lindenau, the answer was not favorable. Ralph created a an Illinois trust in December 2006, properly executed under Illinois law. Upon Ralph’s…

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An Intersection of Litigation and Probate… Do Not Crash!

A recent case indicates how litigation and probate often intersect. If you or your attorney do not understand litigation procedural rules, then you could lose valuable rights. In Sudman v. O’Brien, Theresa Z. Sudman (“Theresa”) lost her right to object to a court order regarding her elective share rights. Theresa…

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Details Matter When Completing A Beneficiary Designation!

A recent federal case, originating in Florida, illustrates the importance of compliance with the EXACT requirements to designate a beneficiary for a 401(k) and ESOP plan. In Arlene Ruiz V. Publix Super Markets, Inc., a federal district court determined that an intent to change a beneficiary is NOT enough to…

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