Estate planning


Topics: Estate planning, Estate tax, IRS, Regulation

A U.S. District Court determined that the IRS did not follow applicable published guidance and therefore was not substantially justified in its position in pursuing claims for personal liability against the beneficiaries and fiduciaries for an estate tax deficiency.


Topics: Estate planning

The Mississippi Court of Appeals held that a decedent’s father, as her surviving heir, lacked authority to change the beneficiaries of a life insurance policy owned by decedent on her nephew’s life.


Topics: Charitable giving, Estate planning

The Tax Court held that a business was entitled to a charitable contribution deduction for land sold to a church equal to the difference between the sale price and fair market value of land. The court reasoned that, since the business held the land as a long-term capital asset for investment purposes and not in…

Decoding Tax Reform: Grantor vs. Nongrantor Trusts – Which Way Do I Go?

Topics: Estate planning, Grantor trusts, Trusts

H.R. 1 (“Tax Act”) has dramatically altered the tax consequences and economics of many common irrevocable trust plans given the combination of higher exemptions for gift, estate, and generation skipping transfer taxes (collectively “transfer taxes”) and changes to the taxation of individuals and trusts. Grantor trusts, which tax the trust’s income to the trust grantor,…

WRN#18.01.17: Divorce Decree Suffices as QDRO Under ERISA to Require Insurance Benefit Payment to Non-Designated Beneficiary

Topics: ERISA, Estate planning, Qualified Plans

A U.S. Court of Appeals held that a separation agreement incorporated into a divorce decree, which required that the parties’ name their daughter as the sole beneficiary of any employer-sponsored life insurance, clearly specified the required information to qualify as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) for purposes of ERISA.


Topics: Charitable giving, Estate planning

The Tax Court upheld the IRS’s denial of a $2.13 million charitable deduction for a timber partnership’s contribution of a nature conservation easement (NC Easement) to a conservation trust. The conservation trust was a “qualified organization” eligible to receive “qualified conservation contributions” for purposes of taking a charitable income tax deduction; however, the NC Easement…

Reciprocal Trusts – A Refresher

Topics: Estate planning, Trusts

Legacy planning for spouses and other related parties often involves the creation of mutually-beneficial irrevocable trusts to provide equal protection and benefits for each party (e.g., spouses may each wish to establish a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT) for the benefit of the other). Mutually-beneficial trusts, however, can run afoul of the reciprocal trust doctrine,…