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IRS Releases Inflation-Adjusted Figures for Estate and Gift Taxes for 2015

October 30, 2014

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The IRS has released inflation-adjusted numbers for several estate and gift transfer tax items for 2015. The following items are included within this release:

• The “unified credit” or lifetime gift tax and estate tax exclusion will increase from $5,340,000 to $5,430,000 in 2015.

• The generation-skipping transfer tax exemption will also increase from $5,340,000 to $5,430,000 in 2015.

• The gift tax annual exclusion will not increase for 2015 and remains at $14,000.

• The gift tax annual exclusion for gifts to non-citizens spouses will increase from $145,000 to $147,000 for 2015.

Additional information on these and other inflation-adjusted numbers for 2015 can be found in Read More

Playground Rules Apply: No Take Backs Even With Spendthrift Provision

82980840In the case, In re Indenture of Trust dated January 13, 1964, the Settlor’s grandson Milton learned that, just like on the playground, there are no take backs, even when the trust for his benefit contained a spendthrift provision that prohibited voluntary and involuntary transfer of his interest. As the blog, Dumb Little Man Tips for Life, describes the rule, “Once you give something, you can’t ask for it back. Whether it’s a physical gift, a gift of money, or a gift of time, asking for a takeback is pointless. It shows bad faith and makes you untrustworthy.”

While it may seem counter-intuitive to the purpose of a spendthrift provision, in certain circumstances, it may be desirable for a beneficiary of a spendthrift trust to make an assignment of his or

Who Can Offer A Will For Probate?

October 29, 2014

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Who Can Offer A Will For Probate?

October 29, 2014

Authored by: Luke Lantta

In Georgia, not everyone may offer a will for probate.  Instead, Section 53-5-2 of Georgia’s Probate Code provides that, if for any reason, the executor fails to offer the will for probate with reasonable promptness, or if no executor is named, any interested person may offer the will for probate.  The categories of “interested persons” could potentially be broad.

Indeed, when it comes to caveats to wills, Georgia’s courts have allowed a long list of people to be considered “interested persons” with standing to caveat a will.  For will caveats, interested persons include heirs, a purchaser from an heir, a judgment creditor of an heir, an administrator appointed for the testator before the discovery of the will, and persons claiming under an earlier will.

Yet, when given an opportunity in Ray v. Stevens to adopt a universal definition of “interested person” for purposes of Georgia’s Probate

Separate Writing Could Not Modify Trust Or Dispose Of Real Property

October 23, 2014

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Trustors frequently build into their trust instrument a provision through which they can dispose of property through a list, drafted later, but attached to the trust instrument. Such a list can provide a simple way of distributing tangible personal property without the need to modify or amend the entire trust every time the trustor acquires new personal property or changes her mind about who should get what. But such a list has its limits. As the Indiana Court of Appeals explained in Turner v. Kent, under Indiana law a list cannot dispose of real property.

Alexander and Selma Kazlauski established a trust that provided that:

We may from time to time indicate our desire that specific gifts be made from this living trust upon the death of the survivor of us. If we make known our desire in writing referring

New Leadership

October 21, 2014

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New Leadership

October 21, 2014

Authored by: Stephanie Moll

We would like to congratulate Steve Daiker, who is succeeding Frank McGaughey as leader of the Private Client CSG. Steve focuses his practice on estate and gift tax planning for high net-worth individuals and succession planning for owners of privately-held businesses.

Congratulations to Steve and thank you to Frank for his years of leadership.  Click here for a full list of internal leadership changes at Bryan Cave.

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When Trying To Invalidate A Trust, You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

October 15, 2014

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If you want to challenge a trust’s validity, you can’t also accept a distribution from that trust.  You have to choose.  This is known as the doctrine of election.  In fact, as the Michigan Court of Appeals recently determined in In re William W. Weigle Revocable Trust (unpublished), in Michigan, once you’ve filed suit, you can’t then try to give it back.

In this case, William W. Weigle executed a trust amendment in 2007 under which the petitioners – who were Weigle’s neighbors – were to receive a one-half interest in Weigle’s house and 72% of the balance of the trust assets while respondent – who was also Weigle’s neighbor – was to receive the remaining 19% of the trust’s assets.  Weigle later amended his trust to grant petitioners all interest in the house and respondent 100% of the remaining trust assets. 

News From the Fed on Federal Interest Rates

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer announced the Fed will likely start raising interest rates around the middle of next year. The Fed has kept rates near zero since 2008 and has nearly quadrupled its balance sheet to more than $4 trillion through a series of bond purchase programs in an effort to push borrowing costs down further and boost hiring. The Fed is expected to wrap up its bond buying program later this month. Minutes of the Fed’s September policy meeting, released on Wednesday, showed several officials worried that troubling global growth and a stronger dollar could undercut the U.S. recovery.

Same-Sex Married Couples: What to Do Now?

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

Same-Sex Couples: What To Do Now if Considering Marriage?

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

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