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Legal Notices

July 21, 2017

Historically, Massachusetts has subjected real estate located in a state with no estate tax (Florida, etc.) to estate tax in a Massachusetts. 

Based on a recent court decision, however, this appears about to change; and this can result in substantial estate tax sav...

July 13, 2017

Income tax is - or should be - part of modern estate planning.  This is one of a series of entries on this "hot" topic.

State jurisdiction over trust income tax (that is, what state(s) a trust must pay taxes to) varies widely state to state.  Some states base taxab...

March 15, 2017

So much of estate planning has focused on protection of the "non-taxable threshold" - otherwise known as a "credit shelter trust".  In Massachusetts, that trust is usually limited to $1,000,000.  In families where the first spouse passed away prior to the increase in t...

March 3, 2017

"Portability" of a decedent's unused federal estate tax exemption refers to the election to add the exemption of a "first to die" spouse that is not needed to reduce federal estate tax to zero to the surviving spouse's federal exemption.  Availing the surviving spouse...

February 28, 2017

I don't know the exact statistics regarding how many of us ever execute a Will, but it's alarmingly low.  Perhaps a secondary effect is my observation that, of those who do make the effort (and it is an effort) to execute estate plan documents, few ever review, update,...

January 25, 2017

Prior to IRS recognition of same sex marriages for federal tax purposes, a transfer (by gift or inheritance) from one same-sex spouse to his/her spouse escaped transfer tax only to the extent the donor's aggregate gifts did not exceed the "exclusion amount" applicable...

January 18, 2017

Assets are often held in trust for the trust beneficiary (as opposed to being distributed to the beneficiary) with the hope that trust assets would be unreachable by a claim made against the beneficiary.  Whether this protection exists in practice calls for a detailed...

August 4, 2016

For many years now, owners of closely-held corporations or partnerships have been able - with bona fide business purpose - to structure the business entity and transfers of business interests to family members so that discounts would be available for gift tax purposes...

August 3, 2016

Congress had all good intent when they introduced the idea of rolling a decedent's unused federal estate tax exemption over to his or her surviving spouse (so-called "portability"). Use of portability is - not surprisingly - more involved than first meets the eye.  How...

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August 1, 2017

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