Estate Planning Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide
discussing legal aspects related to Estate Planning.
The answer should be yes, but if you have had major life events in your family, such as births, adoptions, divorce, marriage, or deaths, your loved ones may be in for a surprise. If you fail timely to update your beneficiaries, or fail to provide a paper trail showing your intent to keep them the same, you may unwittingly be disinheriting a child or benefiting an ex-spouse.
When is a child a child? The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that it is not necessary to establish a biological relationship in order to be treated as a child for intestate succession purposes. The laws of intestate succession provide a distribution plan for the assets of people who do not have a Last Will & Testament.
Now that the ball has dropped and toasts have been made, did you make a New Year’s Resolution? While many people make resolutions, very few make it their top priority to get their estate plan in order. Even if you have an estate plan in place, situations change - babies are born, marriages are celebrated, loved ones die and divorces happen - these changes merit re-evaluating your estate plan. If you have been procrastinating about estate planning, here are some pointers to get you started.
In 2014, the rules regulating the Wisconsin Estate Recovery program were updated to allow Medicaid and other long-term care insurance programs to recover funds from recipients of such coverage after they have passed on by claiming parts of their estates.
While the majority of states require that assets be distributed in an equitable division upon divorce, community property states view all property that was accumulated during the marriage to be the equal property of both spouses.
Everyone should have a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Since the purpose of a will is to make clear your final wishes, it is important to consult a professional during this process to ensure this complicated process produces a clear and concise, legal document.
Your friend calls you up one day and says that he is writing his will. He asks if you will be willing to serve as executor. What should you say? Before you answer that question, you should know about the duties you will be responsible for if you choose to act as executor. Let's discuss what you should consider.
If you own a property in Spain and you are non resident at tax purposes here, you are obliged to present and pay the Non Resident Tax Return, which must be filed and presented before the 31st of December each year.
When a person hears the term “estate planning,” he or she often thinks about devising a will and maybe setting up a trust. For the most part, these tools focus primarily on what happens after a person passes away. However, much of creating an effective estate plan relies on having a plan in case you become incapacitated and are unable to make important decisions on your own. Two primary tools are used in this regard.
Nil Rate Band trusts were often included in British Wills made before October 2007. Now they are no longer needed for inheritance tax planning. This article contains advice about what you should do if you are the executor or beneficiary of a Will which contains a nil rate band trust
Many individuals choose to use a living revocable trust as part of their estate plan or for other purposes. Such trusts provide distinct advantages over wills or other devices.
Family Limited Partnerships can present unique challenges in divorce litigation relative to the division of property and debt. It is vital to understand the key components, their structure and various valuation methods in order to effectively represent a client where a Family Limited Partnership is part of divorce proceedings.
The rising number of marriages between Turkish citizens and foreigners brings in issues related to marriages of this type. From a legal point of view, the two important issues as regards to this may be the distribution of matrimonial property and inheritance. Under this topic we will basically address the issue of inheritance in Turkey, in line with the growing number of demands of legal assistance from our office.
Colorado child emancipation and disability cases can be complicated ones. This article addresses the basic issues with respect to state law.
Buying property is one of the best ways to make an investment in Turkey whether it is for your personal use or commercial activities, bearing in mind the liberal investment climate and economical development of the country. Whatever reason you may have in mind, you must know that Turkish law enables foreign real or legal persons to own full ownership of immovables in Turkey in accordance with some restrictions.
Reverse mortgages may not be as beneficial to seniors as one may think. Learn more about the associated risks before taking out a reverse mortgage.
Determining whether a Trust is right for you and your family can be a difficult decision. There are many factors which come into play and no estate plan is right for everyone.
Inheritances have specific rules that make them different than other kinds of assets. For example, an inheritance is usually treated as separate property, even in community property estates. If family friction has begun due to friction of learning about a future inheritance, steps can be made in the estate planning process to minimize conflict. Additionally, steps can also be taken after the testator dies to help deal with family problems.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one person certain rights and responsibilities, the agent, over the person who had the document prepared, the principal. There are generally two different types of power of attorneys: a power of attorney for financial reasons and a power of attorney for healthcare matters. These documents are generally prepared separately, even if the same person is named as the agent in both documents.
Suppose that prior to the death of your spouse the two of you signed an agreement where you both committed not to sue each other’s estate. Also imagine that you did not get legal advice before signing the agreement. Would a judge hold you to that agreement? It depends.
Is it appropriate for a court order to permit an Estate Trustee During Litigation (“ETDL”) to distribute the Estate? Possibly.
Owners of real estate in Germany, who are not German citizens, may choose German inheritance law for that real estate only up to and including August 16, 2015, pursuant to German law.
Careful estate planning can sometimes prevent a will challenge – but nothing is fool proof. The purpose of this short review is to look at one arrow in the estate planner’s quiver and see how effective “forfeiture clauses” are to inoculate clients from fights over their estates. (FN1)
All states have their own inheritance laws. In succession cases involving a foreign element, the question arises as to which inheritance law is applicable. In many cases, this is a complex matter.
Challenging a prenuptial agreement in the context of estate litigation happens more often than you think.
The German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) is currently dealing with inheritance and gift tax. The focus is the question of whether tax benefits for businesses are justified.
If your loved one passed away without a will, Texas law provides several options for settling the affairs of his or her estate. This article explains several of these options.
Nasty surprises can be a risk in the case of inheritance, particularly if an estate includes untaxed illicit earnings. Heirs must be careful.
After LeVan v. LeVan(FN1) Lambert v. Lambert(FN2) and Rick v. Brandsema,(FN3) wealthy people who sign domestic contracts should be getting the message that failure to make full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information opens the door for the agreement to be set aside. But that is the end of the story – let’s start at the beginning.
Legal Notice 269 of 2014 has amended the Malta Retirement Programme Rules which were originally promulgated in 2012.
In the event of inheritance, the state generally cashes in on inheritance tax, yet money can also be saved with respect to this tax.
When a loved one dies, the last thing that you want to do is to think about business. Having a checklist available during this stressful time can be very helpful and can help you remain calm while you are healing.
Children fighting over control of their parents’ money sometimes go to court to try to force their parents to undergo capacity assessments. Once a parent is declared incapable, the children can, under the right circumstances, be appointed guardians of their parents’ property.
With a testament, the testator is able to express his “final will” and define rules for the inheritance, but a testament can also be invalid. Rules must therefore be observed.
Last time the world becomes more globalized, people actively move in search of better or more interesting work, look for a more comfortable place for living or the country where their children can get great perspective in life. But such activity is popular among young people.
Hong Kong has a large multi-national community and as a result, there is a huge number of international estates involving beneficiaries overseas or deceased domiciled abroad. Litigation involving foreign executors or beneficiaries are also very common. Recently, the Court of Appeal in the case of Nativivat v Nativivat  considered an interesting question of whether an executor under a foreign will has the right to commence legal proceedings prior to obtaining grant of probate in Hong Kong.
There are a number of particularly important decisions which must be made in establishing a family trust (The Trust Property Control Act, 1988 (Act No. 57 of 1988) regulates the control of Trust property and provide for matters connected therewith) as well as consideration for the potential risks involved.
For some reason setting up our last will and testament makes us think about our own mortality, and so we have a tendency to put it off. There are still many South African citizens who have not planned for the devolving of their estate. There are certain scenarios that we need to avoid to prevent complications when an estate is being devolved.
Below are the rules governing taxation of foreign nationals.
In real estate transactions in Spain it still happens more often than not that acquired objects or extensions have to be dismantled because renovations or extensions were not properly authorised or the authorisation was not registered with the different agencies involved. Subsequent permits are possible in some cases, but they do require a special process and incur substantial expenses.
Of the professionals that you can turn to for help with IRS problems, tax attorneys can most effectively help you sort through legal issues. Hiring such an expert is the most efficient way of getting on the right track. Here are seven reasons that make them valuable and indispensable.
A foreigner is the individual who is not the citizen of the country s/he has been living in. A foreigner may both be an individual or a legal entity. In this regard, the law to be applied to foreigners is the law for the foreigners and the International Private and Procedural Law (“PPL”). The said law designates the testamentary dispositions of the testator and determines to which such dispositions are subject to.
Significant Issues in Employment Law in Israel
The overall purpose of estate planning involves more than just passing your assets to your heirs at death.
Every year, the borders between cities, countries and even continents cease to be a major obstacle for people who crave actively moving to new places. Everyone has their own reasons. Somebody looks for high salary or hurries to build successful career, somebody wants to get new knowledge, while others seek a new life in search of their love hoping to have their own happy family here.
The Internal Revenue Service takes great pleasure in auditing individuals who own their own small businesses. Why target these “moms and pops?” For the simple reason that they often deal in cash and keep two sets of books. Add in possible sales tax violations and before you know it auditors from the state revenue department have joined in the action.
Rescued From the Brink of Insanity: Practical Advice for Making the Decision to Opt Out of the OVDI - Part II
Hypotheticals demonstrating when opting out is detrimental to the taxpayer.
Rescued From the Brink of Insanity: Practical Advice for Making the Decision to Opt Out of the OVDI - Part I
Opting Out: The solution for the non-willful OVDI taxpayer? Hypotheticals demonstrating when opting out is in the best interests of the taxpayer.
It is generally recommended that foreign citizens owning assets in Italy draft an Italian will. This will prevent significant difficulties that heirs might experience when transferring the ownership of Italian properties or other movable assets such as funds held in postal bonds or bank accounts in Italy originally registered in the name of the testator.
Beginning in 2011, the IRS started cracking down on taxpayers who did not file gift tax returns after making gifts that required reporting.
Paying tax is painful. But reading about it shouldn't be.
Whether real estate is being acquired entirely new in the context of property acquisition or if it was already in the partnership’s possession is an important fact.
An arrow diagram does not constitute the formation of a legally effective, handwritten will.
New Jersey is one of only a few states that impose both an inheritance tax and a state estate tax. The inheritance tax applies when someone who lived in New Jersey, or owned property there, leaves property to someone who isn’t a close relative. The tax rate depends on how closely the inheritors and deceased person were related.
New Jersey collects both an inheritance tax and its own estate tax, separate from the federal estate tax.
Persons who are married have certain legal rights and protections that they don't even think about. However, there are other couples who have long-term, committed relationships who have things a bit more difficult. This article will show the issues that should be considered by persons who are involved in a non-ceremonial marriage in Texas, and how to prevent a problem.
A will made by spouses who appointed “our children” as heirs is held to include the appointment of a child from the first marriage of one of the testators as a final heir.
Losing someone you were close to is always difficult. But, it can be all the worse when you find that the lost loved one may have cut you out of their will, either intentionally, accidentally, or as a result of someone exerting undue influence over the person before their death. So what can you do it you get cut out of a will?
Trusts are still alien to the Italian legal system as they are essentially based on concepts in contrast with the Italian general principles on ownership. As the Italian legal system does not have a definition of trust, the Hague Convention has provided one, together with rules to be applied by Italian judges in the presence of conflicts in case of assets in trust located in Italy.
For most, estate planning is not an enjoyable experience. For many it is a recognition of their own mortality. For others, it is simply an exercise in annoyance and frustration as one tries to navigate the complicated twists and turns of tax laws, healthcare regulations, trust laws, etc. To make things simpler, the following is a list of the top 5 things you should consider adding to your estate plan.
Under Dominican Law, there are two very important aspects which have an impact on the inheritance of assets of a deceased individual: the time and domicile of the deceased.
When dealing with a contract dispute, particularly in the case of an oral contract, one may hear the term “statute of frauds” used. This does not refer to the commission of an actual fraud, but rather, whether the contract had to be in writing or not. So what is the statute of frauds and when does it apply?
Where there is a public testamentary deed, the land registry office can correct the land register even in the absence of a certificate of inheritance.
An arrangement in a will, according to which a substitute heir is designated in the event that an heir dies childless, cannot be interpreted as provisional succession and reversionary inheritance.
Under certain circumstances, inheritance tax charged in another country cannot be deducted or considered as a liability against the capital assets of a German testator.
If inheritance tax paid in a foreign country is not meant to be deductible in Germany, it is disregarded when the German inheritance tax is calculated.
A concern of many parents with a sizeable estate is that their children will inherit the assets before they are emotionally mature to handle it. Further, many parents of sizeable wealth either do not want to give their children a sense of entitlement or simply do not want to discuss their wealth with their children.
In 2012, with the dreaded “Fiscal Cliff” looming, many were worried about the inaction that would cause the estate tax exemption level to fall to $1 million. However, in the first two days of the new year, Congress finally passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) which makes permanent the $5 million exemption as well as portability.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) extended and made permanent (i.e., until Congress changes its mind) a number of key estate tax provisions. This includes a $5 million ($5.25 including inflation) estate tax exemption and portability of a deceased spouse’s exemption to the surviving spouse. The result of this means that married couples can shelter up to $10.5 million of their estate from federal taxes.
Samantha Perelman is a 23-year-old student at Columbia University, working on a masters of business administration and as a summer production assistant on the set of the HBO show “Girls.” Impressive credentials, to be sure, but more impressive is the legal battle in which she finds herself: she is fighting with her uncle for a share in an estimated $700 million inheritance.
For many families, the birth of a child is the first life event that triggers the realization that estate planning is necessary. What most families may not realize, however, is the breadth of protection that can be afforded to their children with relatively simple estate planning. Not only can they assure that their assets will be protected for their children, they can also designate exactly how those assets will be distributed to their children.
A Resident Non-Citizen is generally taxed for estate tax purpose as a US Citizen, except for marital deduction issues.
If inheritance tax paid in a foreign country is not meant to be deductible in Germany, it is disregarded when the German inheritance tax is calculated.
If you have lost a loved one, there are many things on your mind, not the least of which may be what to do with the belongings that have been left behind. Sadly, family can become very attached to different items that may bear a sentimental value to them, or feel entitled to a portion of the estate's value. These problems can be greatly magnified in situations where there is no will.
It may be necessary to obtain a certificate of inheritance even though a sole heir has a power of attorney with postmortal effect.
This article provides a brief introduction to the German inheritance tax.
A will that a critically ill person draws up in a terminal stage is not as a matter of principle invalid. The testator’s inability to make a will can only be assumed if concrete evidence exists.
It is important that each person have a will that directs their family members and loved ones on how they want their final wishes to be carried out (i.e., burial, cremation, etc.), as well as how they want their estate to be divided after their death.
A preliminary heir can become a full heir if the revisionary heirs demand their legal share and the testator has accounted for this instance in his will.
A testator’s instruction to the notary to communicate the rescission of a contract of inheritance to the probate court does not require separate notarial certification.
An arrow diagram does not constitute the formation of a legally effective, handwritten will.
If a person domiciled in the U.S. dies leaving assets in Germany, the question arises which law German Courts apply with respect to succession. The article outlines the Basic principles of German Private International Law/Conflicts of Law.
If German law applies, some privileged persons may claim the forced share (“Pflichteil”). The article outlines the basic principles of the German forced share.
Generally, German banks, land registries and other institutions do not recognize U.S. probate orders including U.S. Letters of Administration. Instead, German institutions typically require a German Certificate of Inheritance (Erbschein) or a German certificate of Executorship. The article outlines how to obtain a German Certificate of Inheritance or a German Certificate of Executorship.
As globalization flattens the world, practitioners and individuals are increasingly confronted with estates that include assets in multiple jurisdictions. The situs of such assets can lead to the application of differing and, at times, conflicting legal domestic and international legal systems. This article examines the hypothetical example of an U.S. domiciled decedent who dies leaving assets in Germany.
If the spouses have not signed a prenuptial agreement, they are considered to be living in a matrimonial property regime of joint ownership of accumulated assets as determined by statute.
Most people will make a will to make arrangements in the event of death. However, medical advancements are making it more possible to stay alive whilst the patient may be mentally incapacitated and cannot manage his own affairs.
If a post-death power of attorney is granted by a testator, this is likely to expire, if the authorised person is the sole heir.
Experts frequently advise adults to create an estate plan early on in order to have their life and financial plans arranged in the event that they become disabled. But they do not often recognize the obstacles of those who are already suffering from a disability.
Up to now, it was not clear from a tax law perspective whether accrued property transfer tax constitutes incidental acquisition costs or an expense that is immediately tax deductible when there is a change to the composition of partners.
Estate planning is a complex process that requires strict attention to detail.
Business Succession: Examination of Any Claims to Supplement Compulsory Portions is Advisable - Germany
Some problems can stand in the way of succession planning of a business, all the more if persons entitled to a compulsory portion are disadvantaged in the process of succession.
A co-heir entitled to a compulsory portion can have a right to inspect the land register due to the possible transfer of properties before the death of the testator.
Ever since the age of the Babylonian Empire when the first substantial collection of laws were written on tablets of stone, the declaration “It Is Written” has been used to indicate that what was is indeed written is not to be questioned or contested, and is therefore the final word regarding the matter. All directives, instructions, authority, and laws are based upon written documents.
In a time when the traditional nuclear family has shifted to a more complex structure with multiple marriages, step-children, half-children, common law marriages and cohabitation, and same-sex couples, keeping an estate plan up to date with life's constant changes can be a challenge.
If succession planning for a business is pending then a few problems could be in store, specifically if the beneficiaries of a compulsory portion are disadvantaged in business succession.
When you are evaluating your financial position as you plan your estate you may well find that you have the means to set aside resources for the benefit of charitable organizations.
Possible to Verify the Right to Inherit Vis-à-vis a Bank Even without Certificate of Inheritance - Germany
The right of the heir to inherit, who is heir to a deceased client of a bank, does not necessarily have to be verified by a certificate of inheritance according to German law.
There are laws in place to protect investors from unscrupulous brokers at companies looking to take their money and make high commissions with little promise of return; those laws work very well, for the most part, to protect investors from securities fraud or investment fraud. Be that as it may, because of a changing landscape, unscrupulous investment brokers and companies may still sell risky investments to investors with the promise that they are "safe" and "low risk."
If claims arising from a tenancy still exist against the testator after the devolution of the inheritance, then the heir is potentially only liable insofar as these can be covered by the estate.