Daily Archives: March 26, 2010


The filing of a federal tax lien can adversely affect the taxpayer’s ability to secure credit, dispose of property and conduct business. Ultimately, the property may be levied upon by the IRS and sold to satisfy the underlying tax liability. Fortunately, in many cases the filing of a tax lien is not a fait accomplis. For example, at times IRS will voluntarily withdraw a notice of tax lien: Continue reading

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Avoiding Liability Risks of Single-Member LLCs

Businesses have traditionally limited exposure to liabilities by forming a group of corporations or subsidiaries to insulate assets. Although effective, these structures are complicated and burdensome, often requiring separate boards of directors and annual meetings. Single-member LLCs (SMLLCs), which require few formalities, can also be utilized to insulate liabilities of various divisions of a business, or even the assets of a single taxpayer, such as an individual or corporation. Continue reading

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EPTL § 7-1.3 provides in stark language that “[a] disposition in trust for the use of the creator is void as against the existing or subsequent creditors of the creator.” This prohibition against self settled spendthrift trusts has led some New York residents to create asset protection trusts in exotic places such as the Cayman or Cook Islands, or in less exotic ones, such as Bermuda or Switzerland. Continue reading

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The attorney-client privilege protects the confidentiality of communications arising from the attorney-client relationship. Although there is no traditional “accountant-client” privilege, certain communications made by the client to an accountant hired by an attorney to assist in providing legal services may be privileged. U.S. v. Kovel, 296 F.2d 918 (1961). Continue reading

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Operation of New Carryover Basis Rules

Enacted as part of the 2001 Tax Act, IRC § 1022 repeals the current basis step-up at death for property owned by a decedent, and replaces it with a carryover basis provision effective on January 1, 2010. If estate tax repeal occurs as scheduled on December 31, 2009, the new basis rules must be planned for, as they will effect a sea change in income and estate taxation. Congress is unlikely to repeal the estate tax without a return to carryover basis. Continue reading

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Life Insurance Trusts

Life insurance trusts have long assumed a position of importance in estate planning, especially for larger estates, since insurance proceeds may be excluded from the settlor’s gross estate, thereby reducing or eliminating estate taxes. These tax savings may be achieved if the trust is drafted to authorize (but not require) the trustee to purchase assets from, or loan money to, the estate. Continue reading

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Defeating a Will Contest

Without a Will, one’s property passes by the laws of intestacy. “Distributees” (i.e., those who would take under intestacy) have a right to be “cited” by the Surrogate’s Court prior to a Will’s admission to probate. For example, children of a decedent whose Will leaves everything to the wife must be cited, or waive citation, since as distributees they would be entitled to nearly half the estate if the decedent died without a will. Continue reading

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