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Photo of Corporate Law Blog Terri R. Stallard
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tstallard@mmlk.com
859-231-8780, ext. 258
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Estate planning is one of the nicest things you can do for your family. It tells your family and the court system how you want your assets distributed upon your death. Be mindful that if you …

Showing 17 posts by Terri R. Stallard.

Nothing is uncertain like death taxes

There's a saying about death and taxes, the certainty thereof, which has been oft repeated to the point of weariness. While it is true that the imposition of taxes is a certainty, the shape and form of such taxes, especially in an estate planning context, is anything but. Just when one believes the ground to be firm in any particular tax context, the sands begin shifting. The federal estate tax has been just such an example the past several years, and estate plans should account for future uncertainty. More >

Is it time to revisit one's estate plan?

It can be hard enough to realize the value of an estate plan. Those who realize such value can still fall into the trap of believing that such a plan is a "one and done" proposition, a set of documents that only needs to be executed once and requires no maintenance. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Estate plans should evolve, and just as one's financial situation and family members may change, so should the corresponding estate planning documents. Luckily, there are certain milestones that can hint that an estate plan should be given a tune-up, and these life markers are easy to spot. More >

Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples After Obergefell

Many areas of the law are left unanswered by Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell , but the fundamental question of whether same-sex individuals can marry has now been answered. There have traditionally been many obstacles LGBT individuals face when it comes to estate planning and taxes, but those obstacles have been cleared a great deal by the Obergefell decision. Married same-sex couples now have access to new tools concerning estate and tax planning that will help them benefit in the same ways that only heterosexual marriages have until now. More >

Trustee Discretion and Liability of an Individual

It's an understatement to say that the role of the trustee is fraught with pitfalls. Often times, a settlor creates a trust to suit his or her needs, but rarely does the settlor take into consideration, the difficulties the trustee will face when administering the trust. The discretion given to the trustee can provide a gateway for added liability, and the creation of a trust should take the twin concerns of trustee discretion and trustee liability into as much consideration as the disposition of the trust assets. More >

The Evolving Duty of Trustee Communication with Beneficiaries

Trustee communications with beneficiaries have followed an interesting legal path in Kentucky. The original Kentucky statute regarding communication with the beneficiaries required that the trustee must keep the beneficiaries reasonably informed about trust activities. This statute, KRS 386.715, did not make a distinction between revocable and irrevocable trusts. The traditional presumption is that a settlor may change a revocable trust at will, and thus the trustee of a revocable trust did not have a duty to notify beneficiaries of trust status, as the identity of the beneficiaries could potentially be in flux. More >

Estate Planning for the Digital Life

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While individuals will eventually pass on, the internet is forever. Online accounts from games, apps and social media are becoming increasingly valuable. In an age of expanding online presence, estate planners and administrators should take into account the digital life of the client or the decedent, even if online accounts may not always trigger ownership or property issues. More >

Be Wary of Estate Tax Provisions in the Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

It's time to call your estate and financial planners - new tax provisions in the proposed FY 2016 budget once again show the specter of potentially brutal taxes at death for the moderately wealthy. While these taxes exist only in the proposal stage for now and have to pass through the gauntlet of an opposition Congress, it's never too early to take a look at your estate and plan ahead. More >

Are iWills The Way of the Future?

Smartphones sure make lives a lot easier (and, arguably, busier). With a few taps of a screen, individuals can do everything from checking the weather to buying stock to engaging in FaceTime across the world. One individual in Australia recently came up with another innovative use for his smartphone. He used it to prepare his Last Will and Testament shortly before taking his own life. More >

A Hollywood Lesson for Everyday People: Trusts

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, an accomplished actor, died suddenly in February at age 46 of a suspected drug overdose. Seymour had a long-term companion, Marianne O'Donnell, with whom he had three young children. Under the terms of his Will, a significant chunk of his $35 million-plus estate was left to O'Donnell. The media and estate planners have examined the Will, which has led to several estate planning issues garnering public attention. His Will was written before the birth of his last two children and never updated; thus, his estate plan is completely silent about his wishes for them. The actor's death also highlights the effect that marriage can have on an estate plan. Because Hoffman and O'Donnell were not married, nearly $14 million must be paid in estate taxes - an outcome that could have been avoided had the couple tied the knot (at the federal level, any property passing to a spouse at death is free of estate taxes, therefore delaying any federal estate tax until the surviving spouse's death). More >

Trusts Can "Materially Participate" in Businesses

Estate planning attorneys and financial planners now have much-needed guidance about "material participation" and "personal services" as they relate to trusts. The Tax Court recently ruled that a trust materially participated in its rental real estate business and therefore could deduct the losses it incurred in conducting those activities as losses from non-passive activities. The court rejected the IRS's argument that "personal services" performed in real estate activities must be performed by an individual, not a trust. This ruling is especially important considering the introduction of the "Medicare Tax" which imposes a 3.8% surtax on net investment income (the definition of net investment income includes income derived from a trade or business that is a passive activity to the investor). More >

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