Is a Trust a Legal Entity? If Not, What is It?

Recently, an attorney friend of mine involved in a family legal matter concerning trust administration called to ask me what probably seemed like a simple question – is a trust a legal entity? The point of the question related to procedural aspects of trust administration, issues involving duties of the attorney involved, and related considerations.…
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Life Settlements of Life Insurance Policies: What, When, and How

Many individuals take out life insurance policies for valid planning reasons which later are no longer needed or desirable. Alternatively, the policy owner may need current liquidity. While many policies can be surrendered for their cash value or the owner may take loans against the policy, there may be other options. One of those options…
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GSS Holdings – A Reminder on Economic Substance and Step Transaction

Most tax law is made up of very detailed statutes, regulations, case law, and other guidance. Layered on top of that body of law are a number of “judicial doctrines” that seek to serve as a backstop to formalistic analyses that could result in unintended tax results, allow taxpayers to place the form of transactions…
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Non-Recourse Debt Forgiveness Bites Shareholder Upon Forgiveness

How is relief of debt treated for tax purposes? Does it matter if the debt is recourse or non-recourse? Does it matter if the debtor is a separate entity guaranteed by the owner(s)? Does it matter if the debt is forgiven as part of a sale of property securing the debt? These issues were addressed…
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When Asset Protection Planning Goes Wrong – Yegiazaryan v. Smagin

In asset protection planning, sometimes things go as planned. Other times, they go horribly wrong. The United States Supreme Court just issued its opinion in Yegiazaryan v. Smagin[1] which illustrates one situation where the debtor finds himself facing the potential treble damages due to alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).…
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Where Should You form Your New LLC – Creditors’ Rights?

Clients often ask where they should form a new legal entity to obtain the best creditor protection. Blogs, marketing materials, and similar items often tout one or another jurisdiction as the best place to form legal entities. It certainly is the case that state laws differ. One of those areas is in “charging order” protections…
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Hoensheid: Assignment of Income and Gift Substantiation

It is fairly common to make charitable gifts of property prior to a sale transaction. Often, those gifts are of real property or closely-held business interests. This is for good reason. Structured properly, not only do donors generally receive a charitable income tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the donated property, they…
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Can the IRS Levy on Trust Assets?

Most people believe that assets held in trust for their benefit, at least to the extent the trust assets were left in trust by a third party (such as, for example, a parent), to be exempt from the claims of their creditors. As a general rule, this belief is well founded. However, as for claims…
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Gifts to Employees – Fields v. Commissioner

Being in the midst of the holiday season, many people are making gifts to friends, family members, employees, and others important to them. Rarely is much thought given to the income tax consequences of such gifts. A recent case from the Tax Court illustrates how gifts between an employer and employee are treated.[1] Income Tax…
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Fixing S Corporation Problems Just Got a Lot Easier

Tax rules relating to S corporations are a frequent and often time-consuming problem. With the release of Revenue Procedure 2022-19[1], the IRS just made it easier for S corporations to confirm compliance with tax rules and also has eased the administrative burden on the IRS in dealing with these taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Code provides…
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