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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File Portability Election Late? Is There Relief?

The concept of portability has been discussed in a prior blog. What happens if a surviving spouse does not file the portability election timely? The spouse is potentially losing a savings of over $2 million in estate taxes! Relief for filing a late portability election depends on whether a federal…

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Electronic Wills? The Future of Will Drafting in Florida?

Until a recent  Florida Real Property, Probate and Trust Law (“RPPTL”) meeting, this author had never heard of an electronic will statute. An organization, independent of RPPTL and the Florida Bar, proposed a bill in the legislature, (the “Act”) with the help of Senator Passidomo, enacting electronic wills, effective July…

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Portability and Blended Families…May Not Be A Good Mix!

Portability has been discussed in a prior blog but as the federal statute is fairly new, case law has been scarce. A recent Oklahoma Supreme Court (the “Court”) case has lawyers rethinking prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and the drafting of estate planning documents. As a reminder, the following is an…

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