Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

Love is Blind---So You Better Wear Glasses

Beth McCann, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this Consumer Advisory called: Love is Blind---So You Better Wear Glasses

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Value of Michael Jackson’s Image

When Michael Jackson died, his estate valued his image and “right of publicity” at zero on his U.S. Estate Tax Return, as well as the value of his music interests due to the large debts encumbering those interests. The IRS disagreed, and argued that the success of the documentary and Cirque du Soleil show released after his death were foreseeable and should affect the value of his estate. The disagreement resulted in a $526 million estate tax deficiency and penalties of $205 million imposed by the IRS. The trial began in Tax Court on February 6, 2017.

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Mary Tyler Moore: Another Uncertain Celebrity Estate

Beloved actress, producer and activist, Mary Tyler Moore, was laid to rest in a private ceremony in Fairfield, Connecticut on January 29, 2017 at 80 years old, after battling diabetes and suffering from complications with pneumonia. While the status of her estate is unclear at this point, it is very likely that Moore left behind a Will. With a considerable legacy, including an estate that is valued at $60 million, a question arises of who will inherit Moore’s fortune. Her son and only heir, passed away tragically in an accident and her brother and sister are also deceased. This essentially leaves Robert Levine, her longtime husband, as her primary heir. Under Connecticut Probate Rules, Levine is entitled to at least one third of Moore’s probate estate, which in this case, under Connecticut’s spousal share, could be in the spectrum of $20 million. Although Moore left an undetermined amount of money to charity, the question remains: Will her husband inherit a large chunk of the “high-net-worth” legacy that she leaves behind or will charities such as PETA and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, to which she has contributed in the past, receive the majority share?

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Grandparent Scam

Beth McCann, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this Consumer Advisory newsletter with information about the "Grandparent Scam".  Click here to read the newsletter

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Colorado's New Law: The End-of-Life Options Act

This election season was full of interesting contests and a few surprises. If you were following the issues in Colorado, you saw an array of familiar ballot initiatives dealing with legalized marijuana, funding for the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and of course, heated contests between diametrically opposed candidates. But you also saw the passage of a ballot initiative that will only directly affect a limited portion of the population, but is intended to provide that small group with an alternative to suffering through a painful terminal illness.

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Minority Interest Discounts in Family Controlled Entities

On August 2, 2016, the Treasury Department proposed a series of regulations to Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code. If these proposed regulations are made final, this could greatly limit the ability of family controlled partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations to transfer interests in a manner that takes advantage of minority discounts.

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Colorado's New Trust Decanting Statute

Effective August 10, 2016, the Colorado legislature enacted C.R.S. § 15-16-901 et seq., the Colorado Uniform Trust Decanting Act (the “Act”). “Decanting” generally refers to the distribution of trust property from one trust to another trust pursuant to a trustee’s discretionary power to make distributions for beneficiaries. New York was the first state to enact a trust decanting statute in 1992; now, nearly half of the states, including Colorado, have specific statutes addressing and authorizing trust decanting in various forms.

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Year-End Tax Planning

Annual Exclusion Gifts. The gift tax annual exclusion is $14,000 for 2016, and stays the same for 2017. You can make gifts of this amount to each of any number of people in a calendar year and not have to file a gift tax return, and the gifts will not use up part of your estate tax exemption. You can also make gifts of an unlimited amount by directly paying a donee's medical expenses to the provider, or tuition to the educational institution. If you make the gift by a check, the donee must deposit the check and the amount must clear your account prior to the end of the year.

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Is It Time to Update Your Estate Plan?

We recommend that our clients review their estate plan every few years to make sure that it remains current. Here is a list of “life events” and other things that should trigger a review of your estate plan.

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News of the Firm

We are very pleased to announce that Kevin D. Millard and Marc A. Chorney (formerly of Chorney & Millard LLP) have joined the firm as Of Counsel attorneys. Kevin and Marc will continue their practices in the areas of estate and trust planning, estate and trust administration and consultation (including expert testimony). Kevin and Marc will also be joined at Wade Ash by their staff of many years, Anne E. Wohlford and Laura A. Williams.

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Electronic Wills

In July 2016, the Wade Ash Newsletter discussed liberalized rules for the creation of wills. At the end of the article, the author predicted that with new technology electronic wills and digital storage of estate planning documents may become a hot topic in many states. To date, Nevada is the only state that has adopted legislation permitting probate of electronic wills. Recently, however, Florida has introduced a bill allowing probate of electronic wills. It is anticipated that at least three other states will introduce similar legislation in 2017.

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Suggestions For A Successful Mediation

Prior to mediation, attorneys should meet with their clients and discuss a realistic settlement result. If the client has an unrealistic outcome that cannot be achieved or the client is not prepared to compromise then mediation will not be successful. The Confidential Settlement Memorandum should discuss various settlement scenarios. Coming to mediation with several creative ideas to settle the case will foster more meaningful negotiations by the mediator with the parties.  Below are a few suggestions regarding mediation: 

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Scammers Target Veterans

Mitch Morrissey, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this Consumer Advisory called : Scammers Target Veterans

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Scam Alert

Mitch Morrissey, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this consumer advisory called : Scam Alert

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Colorado's Potential New Legislation: The Colorado End of Life Options Act

I have a friend who lost her father to one of those killer diseases that we all fear; one that causes grimaces and slow head shakes when the diagnosis is revealed. It happened a couple of years ago.

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Funky Holographic Wills

Since the beginning of recorded history, people have created plans for testamentary disposition of their property. The drafting and execution of wills were codified and formalized in the Statutes of Wills of 1540, the Statutes of Frauds (1677) and the Wills Act of 1837. The formalities demanded by those laws are still observed in the current law of wills. Nonetheless, cognizant of the fact that some wills are made in haste and in the testator’s own handwriting, the law of wills historically has included provisions for validation of handwritten (holographic) wills.

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2016 Colorado Law Changes

There were a few probate-related bills passed by the Colorado legislature this past session, including the following:

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News of the Firm

We are very pleased to announce that Gary T. Potter joined our firm on July 1, 2016. Gary’s practice will continue to focus on Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration. Before beginning his career in the private practice of law, Gary served as a Deputy Colorado Attorney General, Inheritance Tax Division; as a Vice President and Trust Officer with First National Bank of Denver Trust Department; and as Vice President Marketing of Integrated Resources. Gary has served on numerous boards and in leadership positions throughout his career including the Denver Trust Officers Association, Teachers Award Foundation, Craig Hospital Board and the Colorado Golf Association, to name a few.

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Returning a Rental Car? Don't Leave Your Personal Data Behind

Mitch Morrissey, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this Consumer Advisory called: Returning a Rental Car? Don' Leave Your Personal Data Behind

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2017 Inflation-adjusted Transfer and Fiduciary Income Tax Figures

Based on the CPI index for period ending August 31, 2016, RIA Checkpoint has calculated the transfer tax figures for 2017 to be the following:

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