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THE TOM PETTY ESTATE: A CAUTIONARY TALE IN BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING

When a celebrity’s death hits the newswires, it’s often immediately followed by reports of the size of the deceased’s estate and the identity of the beneficiaries.   In addition, not infrequently public battles among the beneficiaries ensue.  Some disputes are the result of the simple (yet, significant) error of dying without an estate plan, as in the Prince estate.  Others provide specific lessons demonstrating the need for attention to detail when creating an estate plan, such as in Tom Petty’s estate.

Tom Petty was a historically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and record producer, who performed as a solo artist and as the lead singer for the Heartbreakers.  Upon his death in October of 2017, his trust directed the trustee, his second wife, to establish an entity to be used to hold and control Petty’s sizable and valuable music catalog.  The terms of the trust ascribing control of the entity provide, as follows:

BCLP Awarded “Private Client Team of the Year 2019” by Legal Business Awards

April 2, 2019

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The Legal Business Awards recently honored Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP with its “Private Client Team of the Year” award for 2019.  The event took place at the Grosvenor House in London on March 28, 2019.

BCLP received the award based on a combination of factors, including:

  • the merger of its legacy Berwin Leighton Paisner / Bryan Cave teams into a global private client practice
  • the firm’s Middle East work, including the Shari’a advice, and UAE / ADGM work
  • its ability to work with clients across the world, with a focus Europe, USA, Middle East, and Asia
  • the range of work the firm can cover, from high net worth individuals, to wealth management institutions and family offices
  • its Family Asset Protection and divorce practice
  • its BCLP Residential practice
  • its advice on the treatment of complex Liechtenstein foundations by HMRC
  • the firm’s wider Private Wealth offering

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IRS Revises EIN Application Policy, Now Requires an Individual to be Listed as the “Responsible Party”

March 29, 2019

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The IRS announced on March 27, 2019 that in an effort to enhance security and improve transparency, the “responsible party” on applications for an employer identification number (EIN) must now be a natural person.

An EIN is the tax identification number assigned to entities such as trusts, estates, retirement plans, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations.  An entity obtains such a number by completing the IRS Form SS-4 or an online application.  One question in the application process asks the applicant to identify the “responsible party,” which the IRS defines as “the person who ultimately owns or controls the entity or who exercises ultimate effective control over the entity.” In deciding who to list as the responsible party, the IRS encourages applicants to consider whether the party has “a level of control over, or

What Happens to My Digital Assets on Death or Incapacity?

February 6, 2019

Authored by:

Stacie J. Rottenstreich

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A recent New York case, Estate of Swezey (NYLJ, 1/17/19 at pp. 23, col. 3) highlights the confusion in the laws of many states regarding the administration and distribution of digital assets at a decedent’s death.  In this case, decedent’s executor asked Apple to turn over decedent’s photographs stored in his iTunes and iCloud account.  No provision in decedent’s Will specifically authorized the executor to access decedent’s digital account.  The Court relied on the relatively new section 13-A in the New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”), Administration of Digital Assets which provides for different procedures for the disclosure of electronic communications, in contrast to the digital assets.  To disclose electronic communication specific user consent is required or a specific court order for an identifiable reason.  Other digital assets, such as

New IRS Addresses for Filing Estate and Gift Tax Returns

January 14, 2019

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Beginning this year, estate and gift tax returns have new filing locations, according to the instructions for Form 706 and Form 709.

As of June 30, 2019, estate tax returns (Forms 706) filed using the United States Postal Service are to be sent to:

Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Center Kansas City, MO 64999

However, Forms 706 filed using an approved private delivery service are to be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service 333 W. Pershing Road Kansas City, MO 64108

The same filing addresses also already apply to gift tax returns (Forms 709), effective as of January 1, 2019.

To Do: Year-End Gifting. Check (or not)

December 20, 2018

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With the end of the year approaching, we thought now would be a good time to re-post and update our annual blog entry on gifting.

For 2019, the annual exclusion gift amount will remain the same as 2018’s at $15,000, but the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption will increase to $11,400,000 (up from 2018’s $11,180,000, which doubled under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).

With eleven days left in the year, many people are still planning how to make 2018 gifts, whether by making “annual exclusion” gifts of $15,000 per beneficiary, or by taking advantage of the 2018 gift tax exemption amount of $11,180,000.  Whatever the reason for the last-minute gifting, as the end of the year approaches, people may be tempted to make a “quick and easy” gift to their beneficiaries by simply writing a check. As the year draws to a close, however, if your gift is dependent

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