Recent Decision In Warner v. Quicken Loans, Inc. Provides That Certain Third Parties Have Standing To Challenge Invalid Homestead Orders” by Jeffrey A. Baskies, Esq. and Allison S. Neumann, Esq.

Practitioners who represent third parties and wish to challenge the jurisdiction of the probate court as it relates to an invalid homestead order after the probate proceedings have concluded often find themselves prevented from mounting a successful challenge due to the third party’s lack of standing. However, the recent holding in Warner v. Quicken Loans, Inc. now provides such practitioners with a road map for successfully challenging an invalid homestead order – at least as it relates to a property held as tenants by the entireties.

The Time Has Come to Implement Painless Giving: How to Gift One or More Residences Prior to the End of the Year Without “Feeling It”

With only a few months left before the Election and a possible reduction in the $11.58 million federal gift, estate and GST tax exemptions in 2021, the time has come for clients to get serious about using their exemptions.

Some “Dos” and “Don’ts” If You are Planning with Your Clients' Florida Homesteads in 2020

The current $11.58 million gift tax exemption is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2025, but clients are concerned the November election could lead to changes much sooner.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Waiver of Spousal Homestead Devise Restriction by Deed

A new Florida Statute made it easier to waive the Florida Homestead devise restrictions by joining in a deed; however, caution is warned as valuable rights may be lost and unintended consequences may ensue.

Homestead Planning Under Florida's New "Safe Harbor" Statute

F.S. §732.702 provides a statutory procedure for waiving spousal rights, including homestead rights, under written contracts, agreements, or waivers. New F.S. §732.7025 provides a simplified method for a spouse to waive his or her homestead rights in a deed. It is intended to provide a "safe harbor" for the waiver of spousal homestead rights through a deed (with specially drafted language included in the deed).

Jeff Baskies - The Scottie Pippen Case is a Good Reminder that Florida Property Appraisers Enforce Homestead Laws, and There are Complex Issues with Trying to Own a Florida Homestead Anonymously

In December, Scottie Pippen (as Trustee of his revocable trust- as landlord) sued the renters of his Florida mansion alleging over $100,000 in damages. The complaint was e-filed on December 3, 2018 and is available online.

Possible Estate Planning Strategies Arising From The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed Into law on December 22,2017, and effective as of January 1,2018, increased the lifetime gift tax exemption from $S million ($5,490,000 for 2017 as adjusted for inflation) to $10 million ($11,180,000 for 2018 as adjusted for inflation). This increase presents planners and their clients with a tremendous opportunity to transfer more wealth without paying any federal transfer tax. For some clients, the tax changes will allow them to transfer additional sums to already existing irrevocable trusts, or to reduce any outstanding debts by reducing or eliminating existing promissory notes. Other clients may terminate QTIP trusts or use their exemptions on new planning strategies altogether.

Jeff Baskies on Ramos v. Motamed: Gym Records Blow Up Bogus Asset Protection Plan in a Novel Florida Homestead Exemption Case

In a novel Florida homestead case, a debtor’s claim to a homestead exemption (from his creditors’ claims) was denied when the evidence in trial (including his gym records) belied his claim of being a Florida resident.

Art Discount Disputes Are Alive and Well - Tax Court Rejects Estate's Expert's Value, but Allows Unique Discounts

In Estate of Kollsman v. Comm’r, the Tax Court redetermined the value of two 17th Century “Old Master” paintings after rejecting the estate’s expert’s appraisals. The estate’s expert was ignored, as the court found the expert/appraiser: (a) was conflicted and motivated by personal economic interests, (b) exaggerated the risks associated with cleaning the artworks, and (c) didn’t offer comparable sales analysis and didn’t adequately explain how one of the paintings was sold a few years post death – by Sotheby’s – for approximately 5 times his estimated value (for tax purposes).

Have You Revised Your Health Care Surrogate Forms?

Effective October 1,2015, the Florida Legislature adopted sweeping revisions to the Florida Health Care Surrogates Act. These changes require practitioners to revise their designation of health care surrogate forms and spend additional time with their clients when executing them.

Proper timing for irrevocable life insurance trusts

I was recently confronted with an old problem: when does an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust ("ILIT") have to be in place? If a client applied for life insurance before the trust was complete, does the policy's death benefit come into the client's estate if he or she dies within three years? Clearly, the issuance of an insurance policy and the existence of an ILIT can have important tax consequences of which advisors, agents and clients should be aware.

Wealth Planning Alert

On August 2, 2016, the Treasury Department issued Proposed Regulations that would eliminate virtually all minority or lack of control discounts for family controlled entities (including family limited partnerships, LLCs and corporations, regardless of whether active businesses or passive holding companies) for gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes. Public Hearings on the Proposed Regulations are scheduled in Washington, DC on December 1, 2016. The Treasury announced that most of the new rules would not be effective before 30 days after the Proposed Regulations become final. Hence, it is possible the new Regulations will take effect sometime late this year or early next year. As a result, it is important to complete any discount-related planning during the next several months.

It is time to expand Florida's Slayer Statute?

Florida's Slayer Statute has stood on the books virtually unchanged over the past 40 plus years. It has literally been untouched for over 30 years, except for its adoption in the Florida Trust Code. While the public policy expressed by the statute (that a killer ought not to be entitled to inherit from the estate of the one murdered) has not changed during those years, a number of ancillary issues relating to the statute have led other states to expand their Slayer Statute in interesting ways. Given the new and interesting issues being addressed by other state Slayer Statutes, and the 30-40 plus year hiatus in revising Florida's Slayer Statute, it seems time to reconsider the statute and possibly expand its scope and reach.

Nest Egg Trusts

A new arrow becoming popular in the quiver of the overall estate or financial plan designed for wealthier clients is the establishment of an offshore asset protection trust (or “APT”), commonly referred to as a “nest egg trust”. 

Jeff Baskies on Fiel v. Hoffman: Soap Opera/Probate Litigation Highlights the Limits of State Slayer Statutes and Poses Questions Regarding Public Policy Issues Which Should Be Explored in Many States

Ben Novack, Jr. was murdered in a particularly gruesome and sordid manner in July of 2009. Details of his torture and murder made national news. After Ben's murder, a subsequent investigation into the prior death of his mother, Bernice Novack, revealed that she too was murdered, although her death in April 2009 was initially ruled accidental. In 2012, Ben's wife, Narcy Novack, was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to life in prison for paying hit men to torture and kill her husband, Ben, and to kill her mother-in-law, Bernice. In this probate case (and on-going litigation relating thereto), Ben's wife, Narcy, has been treated as predeceased by the application of the Florida slayer statute which prohibits a murderer from inheriting from the estate of the person she killed. However, in a cruel twist, the alternate beneficiaries of Ben's will, if Narcy and his mother predeceased him, were Narcy's daughter (receiving a pecuniary bequest) and trusts for Narcy's two adult grandsons as the residuary beneficiaries.

“To Protect and To Serve”: The Duties and Responsibilities of Directors of Florida Not-For-Profit Corporations

As leaders in their communities and as advisors to their clients, many attorneys have had the privilege and opportunity to volunteer and/or work with Florida Not For Profit corporations (“NFP”). While every NFP is unique in its mission and organization, the duties and obligations of an individual serving as a director of a Florida NFP are not necessarily novel. The roles of NFP directors are defined by the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws and other governing documents of the NFP, by common law, by Florida Statutes (“F.S.”) Chapter 617 Not For Profit”), and by applicable federal regulations. Briefly, directors of a Florida NFP owe a duty of care, a duty of loyalty and a duty of obedience.

Changes to Florida Trusts and Estates Practice 2015; It's Time to Review and Revise your Florida Health Care Surrogate Forms

Jeff Baskies provides members with commentary that reviews a number of important legislative changes made to Florida’s trusts and estates laws in 2015. Jeff would like to extend a special acknowledgement and thank you to the Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and the faculty and steering committee for their 35th Annual RPPTL Legislative & Case Law Update seminar and materials.

Client Update (July 2015) Treasury Department may Limit Discounting

Treasury Department may issue new regulations limiting discounts in family planning – reducing the utility of Family Limited Partnerships and Family Limited Liability Companies.

Jeff Baskies - Will the Federal Estate Tax Be Repealed? - Steve Leimberg's Estate Planning Newsletter

In Estate Planning Newsletter #2273, Bruce Steiner provided members with a first look at the President’s proposal for a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code that Responsibly Invests in Middle Class Families. Now, Jeff Baskies looks at an important question that is likely to be on the minds of many LISI members after the President’s State of the Union address tonight: is the estate tax in play, and if so, where is it headed?

Congress Extends Tax Provisions for 2014

Congress has enacted the “Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014” to extend many important provisions of the tax code, including the important charitable IRA rollover. The deduction for state and local sales tax is also important for clients living in Florida. Please call us if you have any questions about the provisions applicable to individuals or to businesses.

Client Update (November 2014) Estate Tax Portability Letter

Time is running out to file Estate Tax returns in order to elect portability of any unused estate tax exemption for estates of decedents dying from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013. Read more about the December 31, 2014 filing deadline.

Client Update (January 2013) - Highlights of the American Taxpayer Relief Act

Taking effect January 1, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act extended/increased the gift, estate and generation-skipping tax exclusions, while increasing the gift, estate and generation-skipping tax rate to 40% and increasing certain income tax rates as well. 

End of Year Tax Planning

The Community Foundation of Broward County recently invited Tom Katz to speak on end of year gift and income tax planning.  Click on this link to read his outline.

Client Update (Aug 2012) - Act Now to Take Advantage of $5 Million Gift/GST Exemptions

In a recent client update, Katz Baskies LLC advised that now is the time to contact us to review your estate plan to determine if there are planning strategies that can be implemented before year-end to utilize the $5 million gift and GST tax exemption and take advantage of what could be a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

Recent Case Highlights Concerns for Naming Revocable Trust as Life Insurance Beneficiary

In light of a recent Florida case, if you have a revocable trust plan and if you have life insurance, you should review the beneficiary designation for your life insurance.  If the revocable trust is named as beneficiary, you may wish to change your beneficiary designation.

Firm and Members Recognized by Best Lawyers/U.S. News

In its 2012 "Best Law Firms" publication, U.S. News and World Report/Best Lawyers listed Katz Baskies LLC as one of only a handful of  top Tier Boca Raton Trusts and Estates and Tax boutique law firms.   In addition Tom Katz (Tax law) and Jeff Baskies (Trusts and Estates law) were again included in the annual Best Lawyers publication. 

Firm Members Recognized in 2012 Florida Super Lawyers Lists

Super Lawyers Magazine annually publishes a list of top lawyers in Florida (approximately the top 5%) and re-prints the list in the Wall Street Journal, Miami Magazine and other media.  As in past years, Tom Katz and Jeff Baskies were both included in the list, and Justin Savioli was again recognized as a Rising Star.  Finally for the 4th consecutive year, Jeff Baskies was included in the list of the "Top 100" lawyers in Florida.

Effective July 1, 2012, a New Florida Statute Clarifies the Impact of Divorce on Assets with Beneficiary Designations

Prior to July 1, 2012, Florida law provided that divorce terminated rights of an ex-spouse under a Will or Revocable Trust, but not as to assets with beneficiary designations.  However, a new statute which takes effect July 1, 2012, clarifies the impact of divorce on non-probate and non-trust assets.

The President’s Budget Proposal Includes Major Estate-Tax Related Initiatives

On February 13, 2012, President Obama released his fiscal year 2013 federal budget.  Within the proposal are numerous provisions that, if enacted, would significantly affect estate planning and many of the sophisticated tax-planning techniques we use.  (Read more)

Tom Katz Quoted in "Advising Trustees: The 5 Biggest Pitfalls"

Firm partner, Tom Katz, is extensively quoted in this article addressing some of the issues in selecting a trustee and in Trustee services.

Katz Baskies LLC Handles Recent M & A Transactions

Katz Baskies LLC recently represented XN Insurance in the sale of its assets and also represented the acquirer of the stock of Waveguide Communications, Inc. 

Super Committee Failed to Propose Gift Tax Exemption Reduction But Members of Congress Still Seeking Changes

Although the rumored November 23 reduction in the federal gift tax exemption obviously never occured, a new bill was proposed in Congress to significantly alter the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax rules.  Clients investigating opportunities to utilize their new $5 million gift tax exemption should consider acting soon.    

Rumors Abound Regarding Fate of Gift Tax Exemption

Rumors of a November 23 roll back of the federal gift tax exemption may be an "urban legend"; however, they provide an important reminder to those considering using part or all of the "new" $5 million gift tax exemption.  The time to act is now.

Significant New Changes Made to Florida Law Impact Estate Planning and Probate Administration

In the 2011 session the Florida legislature enacted several important changes to Florida law impacting estate planning and probate.  Some of those key changes will be highlted in this summary.

Tax Update: IRS Announces 2012 Inflation-Adjusted Estate and Gift Tax Terms

The Inflation-Adjusted Estate and Gift tax terms for 2012 were announced and several important items are going up next year, including the gift, estate and GST tax exemptions. 

New Tax Relief Act Includes Major changes to Estate Planning

On December 17 the President signed the “The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010” (“The Tax Relief Act”).  Importantly, the Tax Relief Act adopts a $5 million Gift, Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax exemption and applies a 35% tax rate on taxable transfers.  It also extends many favorable income tax provisions, including the charitable rollover for IRA distributions.  However, the Tax Relief Act only lasts two years; therefore, further changes may be coming.

Top 10 Planning Ideas to Consider Before the End of 2010

Before the end of 2010, there are many important estate and tax planning opportunities clients should consider.  The firm has compiled a list and explanation of 10 of the most important opportunities.

Decision from Florida Supreme Court Creates Questions Regarding the Asset Protection Benefits of Florida LLCs

For clients with Florida LLCs, a review of the new Supreme Court decision is vital.  The decision clarifies that creditors can take a single-member LLC to satisfy a claim, and the decision also highlights that a charging lien is not the exclusive remedy for a creditor even in a multi-member LLC.

Katz Baskies quoted on Cyrogenic Planning

Thomas O. Katz was recently quoted with regard to the unique estate tax planning issues for those wishing to be cryogenically preserved and retain the benefits of insurance proceeds.

New Bill Would Dramatically Alter GRAT Planning

For years, GRATs (“Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts”) have offered clients a convenient estate planning tool.  GRATs are irrevocable trusts which offer an essentially zero-risk transfer tax savings opportunity.  Due to legislation Passed by the House of Representatives in late March and pending before the Senate, anyone that has considered using a GRAT in his or her estate planning should act now while many of the benefits are available.

Katz Baskies LLC Represents Interactive Response Technologies in Merger with CCT Group

Katz Baskies handles complex business merger.

Learn about Roth IRA Conversions

Click here to see a video of Jeff Baskies and Marjorie Horwin discussing Roth IRA conversion Issues

Firm and Partners Recognized by Peers:

Katz Baskies and its lawyers continue to receive peer recognition.

Katz Baskies January 2010 Client Newsletter

Read the Firm’s January 2010 Newsletter.

Three Estate-planning Changes Coming Your Way

The Obama administration's proposed budget calls for lots of changes that could affect your estate plans, and ignorance isn't bliss -- it's foolhardy.

2010 Investment Guide: The Roth Conversion Question

Katz Baskies quoted in Forbes story on Roth IRA conversions

Where Not To Die In 2010

While the federal estate tax has temporarily lapsed for 2010, 19 states still take a bite out of their residents' estates.

Obama's budget: Impact on your taxes

President Obama, in his proposed 2011 budget, is calling on Congress to make a number of tax changes for individuals.





New Tax Law in Our Future?

Plan Now: Gift, Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Exemptions May be Reduced Next Year

January 2013 Katz Baskies LLC Newsletter

With the anticipation of significant changes to the tax law, a great deal of the focus of the last several months has been on the planning opportunities resulting from the higher gift and estate tax exemptions in effect prior to December 31. The government rang in the New Year with the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which included a continuation of some things and major overhaul to others. We are happy to discuss how the new law affects your income and estate tax planning.

October 2010 Katz Baskies LLC Newsletter

Many clients face the frustrating process of finding decent returns on investments during this period of low interest rates. But for estate planning purposes, low interest rates can present tremendous opportunities. For example, some families use limited partnerships (thus known as "family limited partnerships") as part of their overall wealth management. It is very important to remember to follow all of the formalities of a limited partnership, because if you don't, the IRS definately won't. A helpful reminder is provided.

July 2010 Katz Baskies LLC Newsletter

If you are like most people, you don't start income tax planning until the end of the year. It isn't too early, however, to contemplate the increased tax rates for 2011 and the planning that might occur in 2010. Learn more below.

March 2010 Katz Baskies LLC Newsletter

Now that the President has signed the health care legislation, perhaps Congress will turn its attention to the estate and gift tax. No one knows whether there will be legislation this year, and if there is, whether it will be retroactive to January 1.