Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Changes To US Tax Court Rules Of Practice And Procedure Proposed By IRS

GavelThe Internal Revenue Service has recently proposed changes that would help improve tax court procedures. The changes would also enhance efficiencies for both the Tax Courts and the litigants that have cases. The new IRS proposals will cover a wide variety of procedural rules that will include “recommendations related to trial subpoenas, depositions and inadvertent disclosure of privileged material.” They have proposed a modification to Tax Court Rule 147 that “allow for the return of a subpoena duces tecum directed to third party custodian of records in advance of the trial calendar.” The IRS suggests that the subpoena should be returned at least 30 days before trial so that the other side can have time to review the documents. Another proposal is that the Tax Court adopt Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5)(B) which deals with the disclosure of privileged material. Finally, they have “recommended that the Court allow non-consensual depositions of party witnesses upon notice to the party without requiring leave of the Court by motion.”

See Richard A. Nessler, IRS Proposes Changes To US Tax Court Rules Of Practice And Procedure, Mondaq, November 25, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lawsuit By Former Girlfriend Alleges That Sumner Redstone Is Unable To Make Decisions

Sumner redstoneA former girlfriend of billionaire Sumner Redstone has filed a lawsuit alleging that the 92-year-old media mogul is mentally impaired and unable to make decisions. The lawsuit questions his ability to continue to oversee Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp., which are the two media companies that Mr. Redstone controls. An attorney for Sumner Redstone has called the lawsuit “meritless” and described it as an “invasion of privacy.” Mr. Redstone is currently estimated to be worth $5.5 billion and much of his wealth is tied up in Viacom and CBS stock. Manuela Herzer was in charge of Redstone's advance healthcare directive until his decision in October to expel her from his home and life. A preliminary hearing on the lawsuit was held Wednesday morning and the sitting judge has set a scheduling conference to be held on Monday.

See Meg James, Billionaire Sumner Redstone unable to make decisions, says lawsuit by ex-girlfriend, The Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Film, Guardianship, Television, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Holds That Income Tax Refunds Are Property

IRSThe Tax Court has recently held in Estate of Russell Badgett, Jr. et al. v. Commissioner, that federal income tax refunds that were due to a decedent at the time of his death are to be included as a property interest in his gross estate for federal estate tax purposes. Internal Revenue Code Section 2033 requires the gross estate to include the value of all property. If there is no offsetting liability in existence then under Section 6402(c) of the Internal Revenue Code the IRS “shall” refund the balance of any tax over-payments to the taxpayer. The Tax Court held that Section 6402(c) did not apply to the Russell estate and the court upheld the Notice of Deficiency that the estate received. The full text of the Tax Court decision can be read here.

See Dawn S. Markowitz, Income Tax Refunds Constitute Property, Trusts & Estates, November 25, 2015.

November 25, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

IRS Provides Guidance On ABLE Accounts

ABLEThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently issued Notice 2015-81 that provides interim guidance which clarifies the criteria for establishing qualified Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. Until final regulations are issued taxpayers and states may use the interim guidance when implementing qualified ABLE account programs. The purpose of an ABLE account is to provide a person with a disability the ability to accumulate assets tax-free without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The proposed regulations will implement a number of safeguards that commentators have noted might impose administrative cost burdens on the states that are administering ABLE programs. There is also mention of new recording requirements for contributors. This article discusses some of the policy changes in more specific detail.

See Bernard A. Krooks and Amy O'Hara, IRS Issues Guidance to Simplify ABLE Accounts, Wealth Management, November 25, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nevada Moves To Regulate Dubious Treatment Following Death Of Woman

ColdNevada has moved to regulate the use of cryotherapy following the death of a woman from asphyxiation after using the treatment unsupervised. Cryotherapy involves a person being exposed to ultra cold temperatures for a few minutes at a time which, purportedly, promotes tissue regeneration and other health benefits. These claims have caused the treatment to be popular with celebrities and pro athletes leading to explosive growth in the number of facilities that offer it. However, a growing chorus of critics have spoken up including doctors who point out there is little evidence to support any of the beneficial claims. In addition, the treatment can easily lead to injury or, as in this case, death if not administered properly due to the use of liquid nitrogen. As of now, the new regulation represents guidelines rather than rules as no penalties exist for enforcement; but authorities have indicated no other regulatory action will be taken if providers voluntarily comply.

See, After Death, Nevada Issues Cryotherapy Guidelines, New York Times, November 21, 2015.

Special thanks to Jerry Cooper for bringing this article to my attention.

November 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Current Events | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Succession Issues For Multi Parent Children

ArticlePictureJudith F. Daar (Professor of Law, Whittier Law School) recently published an article entitled, Multi-Party Parenting in Genetics and Law: A View from Succession, 49 Fam. L.Q. 71-92 (2015). Provided below is an excerpt from the article:

In early 2014, two independent advances introduced the possibility of creating children with more than two genetic and legal parents. Researchers sought permission to proceed with human trials using “three-parent IVF,” a technique that would produce a child with three genetic parents. Concurrently, a newly enacted California law permits judges to recognize more than two parents when failure to do so would be a detriment to the child. Multi-parent families raise numerous questions about the well-being of the affected individuals but future impacts are rarely discussed. This article considers multi-party parenting through the lens of succession, the rights of heirs to succeed to property of a decedent who dies without a will. Using intestate models that pay homage to relationships forged by blood, marriage and adoption, this article assesses whether multi-parent families could or should be captured by existing schemes, governed by newly tailored schemes, or dismissed from succession altogether.   

November 25, 2015 in Articles, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

UT School Of Law Presents The 63rd Annual Taxation Conference

CLEThe University of Texas School of Law is presenting a CLE entitled, 63rd Annual Taxation Conference, on December 3-4, at the Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin. Here are some details about the event:

The 63rd Annual Taxation Conference features an impressive slate of topics with regionally and nationally renowned speakers covering current trends, updates in tax regulation and policy, and much more. 

  • Gain insight into corporate taxation, reform efforts, and the state of the tax world with Mark Prater, Deputy Staff Director and Chief Tax Counsel for the United States Senate Finance Committee
  • Get the latest on Texas State and Local tax law changes, including the impact of recent legislative and judicial developments
  • Hear from Glenn A. Hegar, new Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, on his plans for the office
  • Collect practical tips for working with foreign partnerships and real estate investments
  • Explore recent developments in federal income taxation with Professor Bruce McGovern
  • Earn up to 2.25 hours of ethics credit, including an hour on Ethics Landmines for 2015

November 25, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Avoiding Unpleasant Surprises With The Inherited Roth Rollover

Adult childrenIn recent years it has become more common for people to inherit the balance of a retirement account. Clients are increasingly looking for information on what they can do with these inherited funds to maximize their future tax savings potential. The rules governing the rolling over of inherited retirement funds into an inherited Roth IRA can be complicated. This tax-savings technique can often be used if the designated beneficiary is the original account holder's spouse. This column discusses some of the pros and cons of converting to an inherited Roth. Understanding these complex rules is important for avoiding unpleasant surprises, so people should consult with an estate planning professional for more information.

See Robert Bloink and William H. Byrnes, The inherited Roth rollover: How to avoid unpleasant surprises, Life Health Pro, November 23, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Court Orders Adult Son To Pay For Mother's Care-giving Expenses Despite Claims Of Childhood Abuse

Business_expenseA Pennsylvania Appeals Court has held that under the State's filial responsibility law an adult son is obligated to pay for his mother's health care expenses even though he claimed that he had an abusive childhood. There are a handful of States that have filial responsibility laws that obligate adult children to care for indigent parents. The Pennsylvania Court held in Eori v. Eori that there was no evidence Joshua Ryan was abandoned by his mother for a 10-year period. The full text of the Pennsylvania Appeals Court decision can be read here.

See Son Must Pay for Mother's Care Under Filial Responsibility Law Despite Abusive Childhood, Elder Law Answers, November 24, 2015.

November 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Risks Involved With Purchasing Online Legal Documents

Online_willsIn order to save an increasingly number of consumers are relying on using online legal documents. Using online legal documents to avoid spending money on attorneys might seem like a good idea, but there are many inherent risks involved that could have costly consequences down the road. A flawed legal document could get rejected by a court outright and potential heirs could be left with a serious problem. If a person gets into a dispute with an online legal company they might not be able to take them to court. There are many complex estate issues that a person might have that would require the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney, trying to take the easy and cheap route could be a costly mistake.

See Catey Hill, Don’t buy legal documents online without reading this story, Market Watch, November 23, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

November 24, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Technology, Web/Tech, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)