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Time to Give Thanks and Review Your Goals

Happy Thanksgiving from the Private Client group at Bryan Cave!  

Now is the time everyone comes together to remember what they’re thankful for this year.  In conjunction with being thankful for the blessings in our lives, it also is a good time to review your estate planning goals, such as the following:

  • Have you retained enough cash flow for you (and your spouse) in order to maintain your standard of living and provide you with security for your lifetimes?
  • Have you provided for your surviving spouse so he or she will be taken care of after you’re gone?
  • Have you prepared a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets upon divorce?  See our post on Prenuptial Agreements.
  • Have you protected your children (or other beneficiaries) by protecting their inheritance from creditors? See our post on Creditor’s Rights.
  • Have you protected your children (or other beneficiaries) by reducing

Removal Of Trust Protector Was Invalid

November 26, 2014

Authored by:


Removal Of Trust Protector Was Invalid

November 26, 2014

Authored by: Luke Lantta

We have previously looked at issues in the Wellin trust litigation pending in South Carolina here.  Today, in Schwartz v. Wellin (link via, we look at one of the latest installments dealing with removal of a trust protector.

Under the Wellin Family 2009 Irrevocable Trust, the beneficiaries had the right to remove the trust protector and appoint another.  The beneficiaries exercised that right to remove the trust protector on April 29, 2014, but did not appoint a new trust protector until July 18, 2014.  In the interim, on May 2, 2014, the trust protector – who the beneficiaries sought to remove – exercised the trust protector’s right to appoint a new trustee of the trust.  The beneficiaries claimed that the trust protector’s appointment of a new

Law Meets Science

Law Meets Science

November 24, 2014

Authored by: Stacie J. Rottenstreich and Karin Barkhorn

451428613Advances in medical technology have made it possible for a child to be conceived after the death of one or both of his or her genetic parents with the use of stored sperm or ova. Recently, the New York State Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Coumo which clarifies when a child born after the death of his or her genetic parents, a so called posthumously conceived child, will be deemed a child of such parents for the purpose of inheritance and intestacy law. This issue may arise when a genetic parent who will ultimately have a posthumously conceived child dies without a Will or with a Will using the generic term child or issue. Does the posthumously conceived child take a

IRS Rules on Estate Tax Treatment of Joint Trust Created in Non-Community Property State

stk119517rkeSeveral non-community property states have recently enacted statutes authorizing the creation of a joint trust by spouses that would be treated as entireties property, protected from the creditors of either spouse during their joint lifetimes, but would split into a separate Family Trust and Survivor’s Trust when one of them died. The question many estate planning lawyers have raised is whether the Family Trust would be includible in the survivor’s estate for Federal estate tax purposes when the survivor died. This question has now been answered at least as to one taxpayer in a private letter ruling, PLR 201429009 (released 7/18/2014).

In this private letter ruling, a Husband and Wife created a joint revocable trust. During their lives, they contributed their joint

Bryan Cave Trusts and Estates Practice Receives National and Metropolitan First Tier Rankings by U.S. News & World Report


U.S. News and Best Lawyers have joined to rank more than 12,000 firms in the U.S. in 120 practice areas in 174 metropolitan areas and 8 states.

Bryan Cave’s Trust and Estates Practice Group (“Private Client CSG”) received National First Tier Ranking and the Atlanta, Kansas City, Orange County, and St. Louis offices all received First Tier Rankings in metropolitan cities.

Congratulations to the Private Client Group!

The 2015 report of more than 12,000 firms by practice area is based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Results were combined into an overall “Best Law Firms” score for each firm.

Transfer for Value Rules on the Sale of a Survivor Life Policy

97733572In two substantially identical private letter rulings, PLR 201423009 (released 6/6/2014) and PLR 201426005 (released 6/27/2014), the taxpayers requested guidance as to the impact of a sale of a survivor life policy from a grantor trust where both insureds are the grantors to a grantor trust where only one of the insureds is the grantor.

The proceeds of a life insurance policy are free from income taxation in the hands of the recipient after the death of the insured(s), unless during the life of the insured(s) there was a transfer of an interest in the policy for valuable consideration. However, the transfer for value rule does not apply in two circumstances set out in § 101(a)(2)(A) and (B).

1. As provided in § 101(a)(2)(A), the transfer for value rule will

They Still Haven’t Learned…The Terms of the Plan Control

513104781Just as Mr. Dabney learned in our prior post, Dennis Bohner learned about the Plan Document Rule in Bohner v. Commissioner. Here Bohner participated in the Civil Service Retirement System as a government employee. When he retired, he received correspondence that he could increase the amount of his retirement annuity if he sent the plan administrator $17,832, which he did.

However, since Bohner did not have that cash available in any other account, he withdrew $5,000 from his IRA and borrowed the balance of the funds to make that payment. He then withdrew an additional amount from his IRA to pay back the borrowed funds. Like Dabney, Bohner ignored the Form 1099-R and did not report these withdrawals on his income tax return and treated them as rollovers from his IRA

Only Beneficiaries Can Ratify Trustee’s Unauthorized Act

November 12, 2014

Authored by:


Generally, beneficiaries of a trust, with full capacity to act and with full knowledge of the facts, can ratify otherwise invalid acts of a trustee.  So, if a trustee takes an act prohibited by or unauthorized under the trust instrument (an example might be self-dealing), the trustee may escape liability for the act if the act and all the relevant facts are disclosed to the beneficiaries and the beneficiaries consent to or otherwise ratify the trustee’s act.  Of course, the possibility of ratification of unauthorized acts is all the more reason for a trustee to share information with beneficiaries.

But, can a co-trustee ratify the other co-trustee’s unauthorized act and thereby make it okay?  Here’s an example: one of the co-trustees of a trust is also a beneficiary and the trust instrument provides that the trustee/beneficiary is prohibited from exercising a power for his benefit, directly

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