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

Aretha Franklin's Funky Wills

In May, three hand-written wills were found hidden in Aretha Franklin’s Detroit area home. Her family and lawyers previously thought she had died intestate. Two hand-written wills dated 2010 were found in a locked cabinet and third hand-written will dated 2014 was found under a couch in Ms. Franklin’s living room. The wills are difficult to follow. (Click here for example.) All three documents have been offered for probate as valid holographic wills. There is some question whether they are valid under Michigan law.

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Scammers Are Rotating Around Hurricane Florence

Do your research - know where you are sending your money...

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March Comes in Like a Lion for Scams

You never thought it would happen to you...don't be the next victim of identity theft.

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Family Business Valuation Proposed Regulations Withdrawn

In a notice issued by the IRS on October 17, 2017, Treasury has withdrawn the Proposed Regulations issued August 4, 2016 concerning the estate, gift and GST tax treatment of valuation of family-controlled businesses. These regulations were issued under Code Section 2704 and would have impacted planning involving the valuation of such interests for transfer tax purposes. After the proposed regulations were issued, numerous written comments were submitted and a public hearing was held on December 1, 2016. President Trump issued Executive Order 13789 on April 21, 2017, instructing the Secretary of the Treasury to review tax regulations issued on or after January 1, 2016, and to submit a report to the President by September 18, 2017. The Secretary recommended that the proposed regulations be withdrawn, and the Treasury Department and IRS have now done so.

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Equifax Data Breach-What You Need To Know

With the recent Equifax data breach, there are precautions you should be taking to assist in keeping your identity protected.

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Late Portability Election

“Portability” allows a surviving spouse to add a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption onto his or her own exemption. Each spouse has an estate tax exemption amount of $5 million, which is indexed for inflation after 2011. In 2017, the exemption is $5,490,000. To elect portability, a client must timely file Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, which is due 9 months after the decedent’s date of death, but the due date can be extended for six months if a request for extension is timely filed.

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I'm the Taxman, Yeah, I'm the Taxman

Beth McCann, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out this Consumer Advisory called: I'm the Taxman, Yeah, I'm the Taxman 

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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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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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Death, Taxes, and the Business of Dead Celebrities

Prince, the artist formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson, died on April 21, 2016 at the age of 57. While people all over the world are mourning the loss of this music icon, his surviving family and the lawyers for his estate may soon be mourning his lack of legal planning for his death.

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IRS Annual “Dirty-Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid is Highlighted as April 18 Tax Deadline Approaches

The Internal Revenue Service just issued a warning that scammers may try using the April 18 tax deadline to prey on hard-working taxpayers by impersonating the IRS and others with fake phone calls and emails.

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Estate of Petteys v. Farmers State Bank of Brush, 2016 COA 34, No. 14CA1581

On March 10, 2016, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued an opinion that reversed the trial court and held that an irrevocable trust, a part of which was included in the gross estate of the decedent, was required to contribute its pro rata share of estate taxes under Colorado's estate tax apportionment statute. Our firm had prepared the Will for the decedent, in which estate taxes attributable to the irrevocable trust's inclusion in his gross estate were specifically apportioned to that trust. The trust had been created in 1958. The decedent died in 2009; a U.S. Estate Tax Return was filed in 2010, the estate paid the entire tax due, and the personal representative requested that the trust contribute its share of the tax. When the trustee refused, the personal representative brought suit. Initially, the trial court held that because federal law was silent as to apportionment to such interests prior to the 1986 effective date for IRC 2207B, the Colorado statute at 15-12-916 applied, but the court did not decide certain other issues. After the IRS completed its audit in October 2012, final request for contribution was made. A hearing was held before the trial court in 2015 on the remaining issues, and the court ordered, among other things, that the effective date statute at 15-17-101 permitted the court to refuse to apply the Colorado Probate Code if it found it to be "inequitable." The trial court found that it would be inequitable to force the trustee to pay its pro rata share of the tax and entered judgment for the trustee. The personal representative appealed.

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IRS Delays Basis Reporting for the Third Time

In Notice 2016-27, 2016-15 IRB 1, the IRS again delayed until June 30, 2016 the due date for filing new Form 8971 by an estate to report basis in a decedent's estate both to the IRS and to the beneficiaries.  As noted in earlier blogs, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015 requires executors of estates filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS within 30 days, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries.  The 2015 Form 1041 (U.S. Fiduciary Income Tax Return) includes provisions requiring consistent basis reporting.  The IRS had delayed the due date for new Form 8971 until February 29, 2016, then to March 31, 2016, and now to June 30, 2016.  The Form and Instructions are posted on the IRS website and proposed regulations have been released, but numerous questions have been raised.  The requirement to file Form 8971 does not apply to "portability returns" (those filed for estates with gross value less than the filing threshold solely to increase a surviving spouse's exemption), nor to assets that qualify for the charitable or marital deductions.  Basis must only be reported to beneficiaries who may receive property from an estate where those assets increased the federal estate tax.

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IRS Delays Basis Reporting Again

In Notice 2016-19, 2016-9 IRB, the IRS again delayed the due date for filing the new Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property From a Decedent, reporting the basis in a decedent's estate both to the IRS and to the beneficiaries. The 2015 Form 1041 (U.S. Fiduciary Income Tax Return) includes provisions requiring consistent basis reporting. As noted in earlier blogs, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015, requires executors of estates and certain heirs filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries within 30 days of filing the Form 706. The IRS had delayed the due date for new Form 8971 until February 29, 2016, and has now extended that date again to March 31, 2016. The Form and Instructions are now posted on the IRS website, but numerous questions have been raised, resulting in not only another delayed due date, but a "suggestion" by the IRS that taxpayers wait until proposed regulations are issued to file the return. Proposed regulations are expected "shortly."

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Don't Forget Your Annual Exclusion Gifts!

A donor may give up to $14,000 per year per donee that qualifies for the annual exclusion from federal gift tax (generally, a gift of a present interest). Earlier in the year, it had been anticipated that amount would increase to $15,000 in 2016, but that turned out not to be true because of a low rate of inflation. So if you have not made annual exclusion gifts for 2015, and you are in a program of giving to reduce the size of your estate, you should make your $14,000 gifts before the end of the year, and you can make 2016 gifts of the same amount in January. If spouses intend to "split their gifts" by doubling the amount of the annual exclusion gifts, the election to split gifts must be made on a U.S. Gift Tax Return (form 709) filed with the IRS. The federal estate tax exemption is $5,430,000 in 2015, and it is increasing to $5,450,000 for decedents dying in 2016.

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Draft Instructions to 1041 Include Basis Reporting

As noted in a post last summer, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015 requires executors of estates filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS within 30 days, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries. These values must be used by the estate on its Form 1041, and the beneficiaries for basis-reporting purposes, but only if the estate was taxable. In Notice 2015-57, 2015-36 IRB, the IRS delayed the due date for both the information return and the statement until February 29, 2016. The draft instructions to the 2015 Form 1041 that were just released also require consistent basis reporting. The instructions to Schedule D include the statement: "The beneficiary must use a basis consistent with the estate tax value of the property to determine his or her gain or loss when the property is sold or deemed sold."

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IRS Determines no Statute of Limitations on Gifts Not Fully Disclosed on 709s

It is important to fully disclose gifts on U.S. Gift Tax Returns (Forms 709), because otherwise, no statute of limitations runs on the gift and possible gift tax. In Legal Advice issued by Field Attorneys 20152201F (issued September 2, 2015), IRS concluded a taxpayer failed to disclose gifts to his daughter in a manner that would start the 3-year statute of limitations. Here, the taxpayer attached a short paragraph to his Form 709 stating that partnership interests were given to his daughter; the partnership assets were primarily farm land and an appraisal of the land had been obtained (but was not filed with the return). The statement also said that discounts were taken for "minority interests, lack of marketability, etc." to determine the fair market value of the gifts reported on the return. IRS concluded the gifts were not adequately disclosed because (1) the partnership interests were not described as either general or limited partnership interests, (2) the partnerships were not correctly identified, (3) no appraisal of the partnership interests was included, (4) no restrictions on the transferred interests were described (such as those contained in the limited partnership agreements) giving rise to any discounts, and (5) the full value of the partnerships based upon the appraised farmland was not disclosed.

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IRS Delays Basis Reporting Due Date

As noted in an earlier blog, the "Highway Bill" signed into law on July 31, 2015 requires executors of estates filing U.S. Estate Tax Returns (Form 706) on or after that date to file a statement with the IRS within 30 days, and to report the fair market value of assets on the return to the beneficiaries. In Notice 2015-57, 2015-36 IRB, the IRS has delayed the due date for both the information return and the statement until February 29, 2016.

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I'm the Taxman, Yeah, I'm the Taxman

Mitch Morrissey, the Denver District Attorney, recently sent out his Consumer Advisory called, "I'm the Taxman, Yeah, I'm the Taxman".

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Hang Up Before You Pay

Mitch Morrissey, the Denver District Attorney, recently shared this Consumer Advisory called Hang Up Before You Pay.

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1429 Hits