Trusts & Estates: Alerts
  • California Supreme Court to Review Controversial Documentary Transfer Tax Case January 2015
  • The California Court of Appeal recently held, in 926 North Ardmore Avenue v. County of Los Angeles, that a documentary transfer tax is triggered when a transfer of an interest in a business entity that owns real property results in a Proposition 13 change in ownership, even though the underlying real property is not transferred. The California Documentary Transfer Tax Act, which was adopted verbatim in Section 4.60.020 of the Los Angeles County Code, applies a documentary transfer tax to “realty sold.”
  • Equal Tax Treatment for Same-Sex Couples in the Wake of Recent Supreme Court Ruling and IRS Guidance January 2014
  • Same-sex marriages now are being recognized under federal tax law for the first time. In June 2013, the Supreme Court released its decision in United States v. Windsor, 530 U.S. 12 (2013), declaring Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS detailed the tax-law consequences of the federal government’s new recognition of same-sex marriages.
  • Selection of Trustees - Important Questions; Difficult Answers September 2012
  • By Allan Cutrow and Jeffrey Eisen
    We often are asked a number of important questions by clients about who should serve as Trustee(s) of the client's living trust... There are no "right answers" to these questions, so instead we'll provide some considerations to take into account when trying to answer them.
  • 2012 Gift Tax Planning - A Golden Opportunity April 2012
  • By Allan B. Cutrow and Mark R. Sieke
    Seemingly not a day goes by without reports of tax reform, making specific planning difficult. Despite the uncertainty, two things are clear.
  • “How Will the IRS Find Out?” Here’s How January 2012
  • by Jeffrey K. Eisen
    “If I make a gift and don’t report it on a gift tax return, how will the IRS ever find out?” is a common question asked by clients during the gift planning process.  Other than the obvious answer that the law requires gifts in excess of the annual exclusion ($13,000 per donee for gifts made in 2012) to be reported to the IRS, there often isn’t a concrete answer as to how the IRS discovers unreported gifts made during life.
  • California Enforces New Isolationist View on Property Tax Exemptions for Nonprofits August 2011
  • by Ofer Lion
    California’s Board of Equalization has decided to deny property tax exemptions to charities that do not “primarily benefit persons within the geographical boundaries of the State of California,” notwithstanding the lack of any apparent legal requirement or even mention of it in its own “Assessor’s Handbook.”

  • IRS Backs Off of Gift Tax on 501(c)(4) Contributions July 2011
  • by Ofer Lion
  • Potential Gift Tax Liability for Contributions to 501(c)(4)s - UPDATE #2 May 2011
  • by Ofer Lion
    Perhaps sparked by the significant media coverage of large contributions to politically-minded 501(c)(4) "social welfare organizations," the IRS appears to have begun to actively pursue the gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)s.
  • Reminder: New Tax Act Includes Gift Tax Opportunities February 2011
  • by Allan B. Cutrow and Susan A. Beveridge
    There currently exists an opportunity for giving assets to future generations at significantly reduced tax costs. The new tax law (the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 – the "2010 Act") opened a two-year window of low gift tax rates and high exemption amounts that allows you to make significant gifts during your lifetime that you could not make previously.
  • Trusts & Estates Alert December 2010
  • by Susan A. Beveridge
    This Alert focuses on tax changes relevant to the Trusts and Estates area because we wanted to make sure our Trusts and Estates clients and friends learned about the changes. Only one item (No. 6 below regarding gifts to grandchildren) presents extremely time-sensitive planning opportunities that need to be completed before the end of 2010. If you are interested in making significant gifts to grandchildren at a reduced tax cost (either from your assets or from the estate of someone who died during 2010), please call us as soon as possible to discuss whether this type of planning is right for you.
  • Significant Tax Law Changes Under the New Tax Act December 2010
  • by Ofer Lion, David Wheeler Newman, Susan A. Beveridge, Mark R. Sieke and Harry W. Drozdowski
    The deftly titled "Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010" (herein, respectfully, just the "2010 Act") was signed into law by President Obama on December 17, 2010. This Alert provides a brief summary of its' provisions.
  • 2010: The Year Of The Taxable Gift September 29, 2010
  • by Jacey L. Hayes
    Congress's inaction has made 2010 the year of the taxable gift. While the payment of gift taxes has always provided an advantage over the payment of estate taxes, the current federal gift tax rate of 35% (its lowest since 1934), coupled with the current repeal of the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT) and a depressed economic environment, makes the gift tax advantage greater than ever.
  • Tax Provisions of The HIRE Act: Business Incentives and Offshore Compliance March 2010
  • by Mark R. Sieke
    On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act of 2010. The HIRE Act primarily provides businesses with federal tax breaks to hire the unemployed and pays for these incentives with stricter offshore reporting requirements and penalties. The following is a summary of some of the key tax provisions of the HIRE Act.
  • Estate Tax "Repeal" February 2010
  • Ben Franklin only got it partly right. As it turns out, nothing is as certain as death. Not even taxes.
  • Recent Developments in Estate Planning February 2004
    • IRS Changes the Rules for Family Limited Partnerships
    • Are 529 Plans Still A Good Idea?


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