Trusts & Estates

Practical Pointers from Practitioners: Recent Resident Trust Rulings: Can Your Clients’ Trusts Avoid State Income Tax?

Income tax planning has become more important than ever because of increased estate tax exemption amounts and generally higher state and federal income tax rates. One tax imposed by a number of states is on the income of trusts known as “resident trusts.” Generally, these long-arm statutes impose a tax on a trust’s income solely because of the state of residence of the grantor or a beneficiary of the trust, regardless of any other nexus of the trust to that state.



Digital Asset Planning for Minors

In 2018, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice considered whether the parents of a 15-year-old girl who had been killed by a train could access her Facebook account. Her parents wanted to determine whether their daughter’s death was accidental or suicidal for legal and personal reasons. Although Facebook opposed access, claiming it needed to protect the account, the court decided that the parents could inherit their daughter’s social media accounts just as they could inherit physical property.


Can Boilerplate Raise Contracts of the Dead from the Grave?

When death arrives, must the estate attempt to channel the decedent’s skills and complete any remaining contractual duties? The outcome does not always hinge solely on whether the remaining duties are personal services. Instead, the intent of the parties is paramount. Courts disagree whether boilerplate, such as clauses that the contract is “binding on successors or assigns,” or is “binding on heirs, executors, and administrators,” reflects the intent of the parties and causes personal service contracts to survive a party’s death.


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