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Missouri Court Narrowly Construes Ability of Trust Settlor to Create Conditional Trust Amendment

August 22, 2013

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An upcoming vacation, particularly one that involves flying, often encourages individuals to revisit their existing estate planning—or perhaps even to put a new estate plan into place—to ensure that their estate will be disposed of as they wish if they do not return safely.  The worst case scenario people worry about rarely happens.  People return home, carry on with their lives, and their updated estate planning documents continue to be operative.  Yet there is a long history of cases in Missouri (going back to at least 1872) dealing with “conditional” wills and trusts.  A conditional will or trust is one that states that the document has no effect unless a specified condition, such as the failure to return safely from a trip, occurs.

In the most recent case addressing a conditional trust, Rouner v. Wise, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the

Court Dismisses Widow’s Action For Damages Against Trustees For Allegedly Fraudulent Information Return

Right now we are all in the peak of tax return filing season.  As part of the tax return process, many tax practitioners file information returns for the entities they represent. Any person, including a corporation, partnership, individual, estate, and trust, who makes a payment (such for as rent, wages, salaries, and annuities) must file an information return with the IRS to report the payment.  But what happens if a false information return is filed with the IRS?

In 1996, Congress enacted 26 U.S.C. § 7434(a), which gives victims of fraudulent filing activities a damage remedy against the perpetrators.  The provision applies whenever “any person willfully files a fraudulent information return with respect to payments purported to be made to any other person.”  It allows the subject of the false information return to recover from the person filing the return the greater of $5,000 or actual

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