Recent Posts
Blog Post
01/07/2022
By Jeffrey S. Glaser

“Penny wise but pound foolish” first appeared in writing over 500 years ago. This idiom captures the wisdom of human experience in just five words: shortcuts that appear to save money are more expensive in the long run. Sometimes much more. Further proof of this eternal truth - and one taxpayer’s failure to appreciate it - is evidenced in IRS Chief Counsel Memorandum 202152018, released on December 30, 2021. The IRS takes a particularly hard line in connection with the tax consequence to the owner of a closely held business who undertook estate tax planning with what is otherwise a relatively benign tool – the grantor retained annuity trust (or “GRAT”), using an appraisal to value the business that was, as the IRS characterizes, “outdated and misleading.”

Blog Post
11/23/2021
By Jeffrey S. Glaser

People often don’t appreciate the need to fully and properly document intra-family transfers of assets, until it is too late. When documenting a transaction, shortcuts are at the taxpayer’s peril.  One taxpayer, after being slapped with a $1.1 million gift tax deficiency, undoubtedly wishes he could go back in time to pay the additional costs involved with “dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s.”

Blog Post
10/27/2021
By Jeffrey S. Glaser

To repel a beneficiary’s creditors, a trust must contain a spendthrift clause. This special clause generally prohibits a beneficiary from transferring his or her interest in the trust to others. Similarly, a spendthrift clause prevents a beneficiary’s creditors from attaching the assets in the trust in satisfaction of a creditor’s claim. Although not an iron-clad shield against all creditors from gaining access to the trust assets, a trust often provides an excellent defense mechanism. A recent podcast by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) covered the natural friction between creditor rights and a trust’s ability to shelter assets from a creditor.

Blog Post
09/02/2021
By Jeffrey S. Glaser

I am a member of American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a national association of estate planning attorneys and law professors who are elected by peers based on reputation, skill, and contributions to the field. ACTEC publishes short podcasts that touch on estate planning issues. A recent podcast covered the new and emerging digital phenomenon of Non-Fungible Tokens, or #NFTs.

Blog Post
04/28/2021
By Ronald P. Colicchio

IMO Estate of Annie Rost, 2021 N.J. Super. Unpub. (Docket No A-1807-19) (App. Div. 2021). On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Probate Part, Mercer County. Before Judges Sabatino, Currier, and Gooden Brown.

Blog Post
07/23/2018
By Ronald P. Colicchio

A beneficiary of an estate or a trust has the right to review the actions of the executor or trustee by asking for an accounting.   To be prudent, an executor or trustee should provide the beneficiary with updates on the status of the estate or trust.  First, an inventory should be provided soon after the commencement of the estate or trust followed by an informal accounting which details the disposition of assets and the payment of expenses.  And to save on filing fees with the Court, the executor or trustee should propose that the beneficiary waive a formal accounting

Blog Post
04/18/2018
By Ronald P. Colicchio

Before one considers filing an undue influence claim seeking to set aside a change in a Will or a recent transfer which reduces his or her share in an estate, there are a number of important factors to consider. In order to address the obvious proof problems in filing such a case, Courts have created a presumption of undue influence where there exist certain factors such as a confidential relationship between the testator/donor and the recipient of the gift along with suspicious circumstances surrounding the change in disposition.  

Blog Post
03/14/2018
By Ronald P. Colicchio

The transfer of wealth from the elderly has become the subject of heightened judicial scrutiny over the last several years, and this trend will only grow with the aging of the population.  Part of the issues faced by courts surround the use of a power of attorney and the potential for abuse of that power.  A power of attorney grants legal authority to an agent to make decisions on behalf of the principal.  A power of attorney is usually general in scope but of course can be limited in its application.  It can be made effective immediately or upon one’s disability.

Blog Post
11/02/2017
By Russell J. Fishkind

From Esau, who rashly traded his birthright to his twin brother Jacob for a cup of soup, to King Lear’s ill-conceived plan to leave his riches to only two out of three daughters, family dynamics can lead to estate problems.

Any one — or more — of the following six situations can easily lead to a court battle for control if the scenarios are not properly addressed during the estate planning process:

Blog Post
10/26/2017
By Russell J. Fishkind

When Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia died in 1995, he left his custom guitars to the man who made them.