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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Estate Owns a Car? Be Careful!

When an individual passes away, assets held in such individual’s name (and with no named beneficiary) generally become assets of that individual’s estate. Assume the individual owns a car, dies and his child drives the car before someone is appointed as personal representative. Child causes a wreck. Is the estate…

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State Statute Throws Beneficiary a Lifeline!

Private Letter Ruling (“PLR”) 201706004 addresses a beneficiary designation issue. Taxpayer died owning an individual retirement account (“IRA”). The beneficiary designation indicated that taxpayer’s trust was the beneficiary. The only problem? There was NO trust created by taxpayer! The custodian of the IRA found no trust, the taxpayer’s will referenced…

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