Category Archives: Estate Planning

Subscribe to Estate Planning RSS Feed

IRS Gives a Second Chance to Claim a Potentially Valuable Estate Tax Benefit for Surviving Spouses 

Rarely do estates get a “second look” at tax decisions.  However, this summer the IRS provided some executors, trustees, and surviving spouses an opportunity to revisit an important estate tax planning decision made years ago. Background:   As you probably know, the IRS assesses an estate tax on large estates.  The estate tax rate is 40%. … Continue Reading

Starting the Philanthropic Conversation

One of my favorite quotes regarding charitable giving is this statement by Bill and Melinda Gates in their Giving Pledge letter: We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful.  But just as these gifts are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well. . … Continue Reading

California Court Says Mother’s Trust Can Fund Trustee to Fight Trust Contest after Her Death

There’s a new no-contest case in California — Doolittle v. Exchange Bank (pdf).  The twist here is the beneficiary who contested the validity of trust amendments also sought to broaden the reach of California’s no-contest statute.  Apart from its holding (a defense-of-claims provision is not the same thing as a no contest clause and therefore trust assets are … Continue Reading

Federal Estate Tax Exclusion Bumps Up a Bit for 2016

It’s that time when the IRS announces what you can pass on to others next year without paying federal gift or estate tax.  Revenue Procedure 2015-53 contains 27 pages of inflation-adjusted items for 2016.  Wedged between the inflation adjustments for the foreign earned income exclusion and the “tax on arrow shafts,” are the 2016 numbers for the unified … Continue Reading

Upcoming Seminar: Presence and Ethics at the End of Life

On November 12th, I will be giving a Silicon Valley Bar Association seminar on Preparing for Dying: Presence and Ethics at the End of Life with sociologist and filmmaker Dr. Michelle Peticolas and estate planning attorney Deborah Radin of Kramer Radin, LLP.   We will begin the seminar by watching Dr. Peticolas’s award-winning documentary, Caring for Dying: the Art … Continue Reading

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Estate planning makes sense no matter what size your estate is.  Of course, if your estate is large enough to be subject to estate tax on your death, one part of the planning process will be looking at different ways to reduce or postpone estate tax.  But whether your estate is large or small, planning … Continue Reading