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Tax

Bloomberg BNA: Tax Management Mwemorandum Article: A Financial and Income Tax Analysis of Earnouts

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

One objective of this article is to sensitize the reader to these income tax rules so that unintended and adverse income tax results will not occur. The other objective of this article is to point out the myriad of objectives an earnout can accomplish so that one can design the earnout terms to compliment these objectives.

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Madoff Victims Who Paid Taxes on Scheme Seek Refunds

By: Stephen M. Breitstone and José L. Berra

Madoff Victims Who Paid Taxes On Scheme Seek Refunds By Stephen M. Breitstone, Esq. sbreitstone@meltzerlippe.com and Jose Berra, Esq. Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone LLP January 14, 2009 The typical Madoff investor who was victimized by the alleged Stephen M. Breitstone Ponzi scheme has paid it now seems never existed. (1) The question now is […]

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DIEBOLD and the Not So Beautiful: Transferee Liability Trumps Tax Shelter

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

The Second Circuit, in Diebold v. Commissioner, describes the requirements for finding transferee liability under Section 6901, here specifically under New York law, as state law predominates the determination of whether a person will be liable for federal taxes as a transferee. This case involved a so-called “Midco”transaction, whereby the goal was to avoid the corporate level taxes on the disposition of the assets of a C-corporation.

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On Historic Boardwalk: Substance is Key Regarding Partner Status

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

The core issue in Historic Boardwalk was whether an investor in a partnership would be considered to be a partner and as such would be eligible to receive an allocation of historic rehabilitation credits. More specifically, the question was whether the parties, a New Jersey state agency and a subsidiary of Pitney Bowes Corporation, acting with a business purpose, intended to join together as partners in a profit-making activity and share the gains and losses.  

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Deducting or Capitalizing Expenditures Related to Tangible Property

By: Richard Reichler

At the end of December 2011, the Treasury and the IRS promulgated temporary regulations (Temp. Regs.) principally dealing with the application of the expensing rules of Section 162 and the capitalization rules of Section 263 with respect to tangible personal property.  The Temp. Regs. are generally effective for amounts paid or accrued after 1/1/12.

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Partnership Characteristics – Confusion Reigns

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

Recent litigation has put into question the tests for determining the validity of a partnership and one’s status as a partner. The seemingly simple questions of whether, for tax purposes, a partnership exists and whether one is a partner require thoughtful, and sometimes complex, analysis to answer. There are two recognized tests for determining whether a partnership exists or whether one is a partner, but what remains uncertain is how these tests relate to each other.

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IRS Looks Closely at Tax Issues of Closely Held Businesses

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

The recent decisions in MenardInc. and Muskat drive home the importance of a proper record to support the desired tax results.  Involving settled law, each case was fact driven.

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Carried Interest Bill – Impact on Real Estate Partnerships

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

Fighting abuse is on the minds of lawmakers. Compensation structures in the financial sector have come under increasing scrutiny. There has been a public perception that many mainstream compensation structures are abusive. In some instances this perception is based on reality. However, coupled with an overwhelming need to raise revenues, the response can lead to the unintended consequences of legislative caprice and economic carnage, as exemplified by recently proposed carried interest legislation.

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Carried Interest Bill – A ‘Death Trap’ for Real Estate Partnerships

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

In recent years, there has been much discourse about the perception that hedge fund and private equity fund managers can structure their compensation so they are taxed at capital gains rates on income derived from managing other people’s money.

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Section 1031 “like-kind” exchanges – Use of Tenants in Common to “Pool” Capital and to Create Liquidity

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

When the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2002-22, 2002-1 CB 733, it provided a degree of guidance as to when a tenants in common arrangement ("TIC") would not be treated as a partnership for Federal income tax purposes. This guidance has greatly expanded the utility of IRC section 1031, which provides for non-recognition of gain on exchanges of property of a "like kind" held for use in a trade, business or investment.

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IRS Expands Tax-Free Exchanges of Real Estate

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

In our practice and in the real world, it is usually easier to purchase real estate than to sell real estate. This often presents real world difficulties for businesses seeking to take advantage of the "like-kind" exchange provisions under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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Structuring Workout Transactions

By: Richard Reichler

Workout transactions involve complex tax rules that require careful tax planning to reduce additional cash outlays and avoid costly liabilities. © 2010 Thomson Reuters/RIA. All rights reserved

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Roth IRAs and Real Estate Investments

By: Richard Reichler

The "Roth IRA" is a form of long-term, tax-free investment that may be well-suited to those who believe that real estate assets are now priced for future appreciation.

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The Importance of International Tax and Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The current global economic environment demands that legal, accounting and financial professionals be well versed in international tax and estate planning. Sound planning and creative structuring will potentially save clients millions in tax dollars and significant reporting obligations, as well as help clients avoid serious criminal consequences.  The Long Island Branch of the Society of Trust […]

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Income and Transfer Tax Planning for Negative Capital – The Entity Freeze Solution

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

Recent litigation has put into question the tests for determining the validity of a partnership and one’s status as a partner. The seemingly simple questions of whether, for tax purposes, a partnership exists and whether one is a partner require thoughtful, and sometimes complex, analysis to answer.

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A Safe Approach to Non-Safe Harbor Reverse Exchanges and Built-to-Suit Parking Arrangements

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

All too often, the restrictions involved prevent taxpayers from taking advantage of the  Service's safe harbor for reverse exchanges. Non-tax economic and business considerations may make it impossible to identify and acquire replacement property within the prescribed periods. Reverse exchanges outside of the safe harbor may be accomplished , however, under the pre-existing case law. The use of a net lease can improve the likelihood that these non-safe-harbor transactions may pass muster.

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Tax Exempt Organizations

Avi Z. Kestenbaum & Mary P. O’Reilly: “Stepping-Up” CLATS, a Win-Win for Beneficiaries and Charities “

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Mary P. O'Reilly

“With today’s high federal income tax rates and the estate tax applicable to relatively few estates and at lower rates, there has been an increased focus in estate planning to achieve a step-up in income tax basis at death. However, in most cases moving assets outside of the taxable estate and receiving a step-up in […]

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Know the Differences – Why All Charitable Contribution Deductions Are Not Equal

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Many tax and estate planing professionals are aware of the basic tax rules governing dedications for charitable contributions.  They know the general distinctions between the limits on income tax deductions for contributions to private foundations, and for contributions to public charities.

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Numerous Pension Act Changes Affect Charitable and Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Charitable organizations and their donors need to cope with a variety of provisions in the Pension Protection Act and a few changes can actually produce tax savings.

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Proposed Revisions to the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Specialists in the charitable planning and nonprofit fields should be aware that proposed revisions to UMIFA, which are expected to be enacted in 2005, will have a significant impact on the management and spending of charitable funds.

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Duties and Liabilities of Nonprofit Directors and Officers

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Recent developments have increased the duties and obligations of nonprofit corporation boards of directors and officers and may have increased their liabilities as well. This article focuses on some of the developments, provides insight into understanding the duties and obligations of nonprofit directors and officers, and offers guidance on affirmative steps to minimize the liability of these individuals.

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The New Age of Corporate Governance for Non-Profit Organizations

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

With the abundance of corporate governance scandals and abuses in recent years, and the remedial measures and penalties imposed by the legislature and judiciary at both the federal and state levels to address them, both the for-profit and non-profit sectors are experiencing a new age of corporate governance.

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Business

Beware of Ideas

By: Loretta M. Gastwirth

Loretta Gastwirth is a member of Meltzer Lippe's Litigation Group. She discusses why even listening to a new idea bespeaks great caution to any business owner lest he/she be accused of misappropriation.

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Avi Z. Kestenbaum & the Family Business Succession Planning Crisis: A Call to Action

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The statistics are shocking and sobering. Very few family businesses successfully transition to the next generations. Estate planners may be unaware of the true reasons for this and therefore may be unable to properly help our clients.

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Corporate

Raising Capital Under the New SEC Rule 506 (c)

By:

Effective September 23, 2013, issuers can use general solicitation and advertising in an offering of its securities provided that each and every purchaser is an accredited investor (“Rule 506(c)”).

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Networking Opportunity for Chief Financial Officers

By: Ira R. Halperin

Success is built on identifying a need and then meeting it. That is pretty much how the current CFO and Financial Executive Committee got its genesis. “When we started the current committee about four years ago, you couldn’t really call it a committee,” says co-Chair Ira Halperin, “It was more of a forum.”

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Directors Beware: It Could Happen to You!

By: Ira R. Halperin

A recent decision of Delaware Chancery Court (the “Court”) has left many corporations and directors wondering whether their current bylaws are sufficient and clear enough to address certain indemnification and advancement issues. Generally, directors are protected to a great extent under a corporation’s bylaws, especially with regard to indemnification.

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Major Changes to Rule 144 – Small Businesses Rejoice

By: Ira R. Halperin

On November 15, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted unanimously to adopt several rule amendments designed primarily to enable smaller companies to raise capital more effectively and ease some of the historically burdensome reporting and disclosure requirements.

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Internal Control Guidance For Small Companies

By: Ira R. Halperin

On July 30, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 ("SOX"). Rule 404 of SOX requires public companies to annually provide investors with an assessment of the quality of their internal control over financial reporting. Accelerated filers, typically large public companies, were required to comply with the requirements of Rule 404 for its first fiscal year ending on or after November 15, 2004.

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Accredited Investor Today Not Tomorrow

By:

Beginning July 21, 2010, who can buy and to whom companies can  sell privately placed securities changed when President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”).

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Labor & Employment

The Griggs Fable Ignored: The Far-Reaching Impact of a False Premise

By: Jeffrey G. Douglas

This articlewas published in the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal and can be found by clicking the link below: http://www.hofstralelj.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Douglas-Final.pdf Prominent arbitrator Robert L. Douglas, and his son, Jeffrey Douglas, a Meltzer Lippe associate discuss the role of the fable in the landmark Griggs decision.

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WESTLAW: Retaliation claims on the rise

By: Gerald C. Waters, Jr.

Adina Genn form LIBN Interviews Gerald Waters for LIBN – Retaliation claims on the rise.

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WESTLAW Waters: Top five “fouls” to avoid during March Madness

By: Gerald C. Waters, Jr.

Gerald Waters addresses “March Madness” in the workplace.  

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Thomson Reuters Employment Alert: ERR on the side of Accomodating Pregnant Employees

By: Gerald C. Waters, Jr.

“Companies would be smart to realize that failure to provide accommodations to pregnant women, or a failure to truly understand what it means to provide these accommodations, could result in pricey lawsuits not just in compensatory and punitive damages if the plainti! wins, but also in attorneys’ fees even if the employer prevails. In contrast, […]

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The Past Two Years Has Shown A Significant Increase in Costly Wage / Hour Litigation

By: Peter A. Schneider

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and state law equivalent mandate payment of a minimum wage and payment of time and one half of a non exempt employee’s hourly wage for hours worked in access of 40 in a week.

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Food Industry Targeted

By: Peter A. Schneider

The plaintiff’s bar and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are targeting the food industry for enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It is important that businesses in the food service industry understand their requirements under the FLSA or risk facing litigation and the associated costs and penalties.

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Employers: Don’t Blow Your Employee’s Covenant Not to Compete!

By: Loretta M. Gastwirth

Recently, the home health industry has been the Paul worked at a New York insurance brokerage firm for 33 years until his termination in 1995. He was employed pursuant to an employment contract containing a standard covenant-not-to-compete clause.

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Investment Funds

Investment Advisers Faced a Tumultuous Regulatory Year

By: Ira R. Halperin

In 2011, the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government focused their not inconsiderable efforts on the regulatory regime surrounding investment advisers.  This article provides an overview of selected court decisions, and regulatory and legislative actions significantly affecting the asset management business.

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Exemptions from Registration Under the Advisers Act

By:

Pursuant to final rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) effective July 21, 2011, family offices, foreign private advisers and investment advisers to venture capital funds and to private funds with assets under management of less than $150 million are exempt from registration under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”).

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Through the Looking Glass (Inside the World of Private Funds)

By:

This article seeks to present how recent regulatory initiatives benefit investors who have invested, or are looking to invest, in private funds. Private fund industry participants, particularly compliance officers of private fund advisers, closely monitor proposed regulations to determine how such proposals affect the business and operations of private fund advisers.

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Accredited Investor Today Not Tomorrow

By:

Beginning July 21, 2010, who can buy and to whom companies can  sell privately placed securities changed when President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”).

read more

Litigation

LIBN: The benefits of arbitration are many; shouldn’t be dismissed

By: Loretta M. Gastwirth

Loretta Gastwirth co-authored an arbitration article which was published in the June 24- June 30, 2016 Long Island Business News. Please take a moment to read her article written with Erica B. Garay on the benefits of arbitration.

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To ADR or Not to ADR: That Is the Question

By: Loretta M. Gastwirth

To ADR or not to ADR? The answer is it depends. While that answer may drive clients crazy, there are circumstances corporate lawyers may want to consider to ensure that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is right for their clients.

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Beware of Ideas

By: Loretta M. Gastwirth

Loretta Gastwirth is a member of Meltzer Lippe's Litigation Group. She discusses why even listening to a new idea bespeaks great caution to any business owner lest he/she be accused of misappropriation.

read more

Real Estate

Roth IRAs and Real Estate Investments

By: Richard Reichler

The "Roth IRA" is a form of long-term, tax-free investment that may be well-suited to those who believe that real estate assets are now priced for future appreciation.

read more
Popular Estate Planning Techniques Can Cause Income Tax Horrors For Real Estate Owners

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

The real estate wealth created over a lifetime (or over generations) can be lost absent tax and succession planning. For the large real estate portfolio, liquidity is usually a major concern.

read more
IRS Expands Tax-Free Exchanges of Real Estate

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

In our practice and in the real world, it is usually easier to purchase real estate than to sell real estate. This often presents real world difficulties for businesses seeking to take advantage of the "like-kind" exchange provisions under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

read more

Technology

Legally Tweeting: Legal Consequences of Twitter

By: Pedram Tabibi

Twitter’s popularity is growing by the day, and the “Tweet” is now a daily (and preferred) method of communication for many. According to the info-graphic below, there are currently over 465 million registered Twitter accounts, and well over 100 million active users.  Even I entered the Twitter world @PedramTabibi. More importantly, Twitter is beginning to see substantial revenue. Twitter’s projected advertising revenue will surpass half a billion dollars ($540 million) by 2014.

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Social Media And The Hiring Process

By: Pedram Tabibi

Imagine landing a job interview. How do you prepare yourself? You might read about the company, prepare for questions, bring your resume and arrive on time. Then, the interviewer begins by asking for the username and password of all your social media accounts. Surprised? Don’t be. Reports on emerging employment practices show your interview starts long before you arrive; it starts online with your social media accounts. Welcome to the age of the “social media interview.”

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Dear Business Owners: Who Owns Your Social Media Account?

By: Pedram Tabibi

Employees spend time on social media platforms at work while also promoting themselves. If a company contributes content or otherwise assists in building an employee’s social media account, who owns the account and who should reap the fruits of the account’s success?

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Social Media Advertising and New York Privacy Laws

By: Pedram Tabibi

The social media rise through websites including Facebook and Twitter and the increased use of electronic communication has dramatically shifted advertising to the Internet.

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Before You Purchase Customized Software, Make Sure You Are Protected

By: Paul Rubell

Every company wants to grow, but expansion presents complexity and challenges, and requires more sophisticated computer systems. An early stage company can manage nicely with off-the-shelf software for accounting and customer relations management, but for a more mature company, custom-built software may be the right choice

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Social Media and Privacy

Now What Did Facebook Do to the Internet? The Invalidation of the US Safe Harbor Agreement

By: Mark Damiano

In Schrems the Court of Justice annulled the Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision regarding the transfer of personal data between the US and the EU. This judgment not only led to public re actions within the US but raised the question as to how companies should react in the immediate term to the absence of a legal framework to data transfer. In this context the adoption of some form of self-remedial actions, as model contract clauses or binding corporate rules, seems crucial. The currently negotiated new framework for transatlantic data flows, the EU-US Privacy Shield, could remedy the situation. However, critics perceive it merely as a relabeled Safe Harbor Agreement without enhanced data protection

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White Paper: Mitigating the Business Risks of Social Media

By: Paul Rubell

Social media is rapidly emerging as an effective means for businesses to engage their customers. Through the use of social media, customers can be made to feel and behave like part of a company’s brand and culture. The benefits of this viral marketing may directly impact a company’s bottom line. However, there are potential pitfalls that may […]

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Long Island Business News: Activity spike may have caused temporary opt out Facebook bans

By: Paul Rubell

April 20, 2016

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Newsday: Rubell: Google’s compiling a file on you

By: Paul Rubell

March 12, 2012 At the beginning of the month, Google implemented a new “privacy” policy that dramatically decreased your privacy while significantly increasing what the search engine giant knows about you. This sweeping act has demolished the thin protective wall previously offered by individual privacy policies.

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Social Media at Work Raises Issues of Account Ownership

By: Pedram Tabibi and Michael H. Masri

The continuing growth and business integration of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ signifies that social media is entering all aspects of everyday life. Businesses, for one, increasingly rely on social media to promote their brand, advertise products, and connect with clients and potential clients. In fact, 2012 will mark the first time that online advertising spending will surpass print advertising spending in total dollars.

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Trusts & Estates

Die and Let Live! – A Review of Don DeLillo’s novel Zero K

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

Jeffrey A. Galant, Counsel in our Trust & Estates group, gives a fascinating review of Don DeLillo’s novel, Zero K. “We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?”

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WSJ Podcast (Audio): What Prince’s Death Teaches About Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

When Prince died without a will, it raised a lot of questions about his estate. Meltzer Lippe’s Avi Kestenbaum discusses why people put off estate planning and what the death of Prince can teach us about how to prepare for the future.   Click here to listen: http://on.wsj.com/1TfFN1E

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Avi Z. Kestenbaum & Mary P. O’Reilly: “Stepping-Up” CLATS, a Win-Win for Beneficiaries and Charities “

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Mary P. O'Reilly

“With today’s high federal income tax rates and the estate tax applicable to relatively few estates and at lower rates, there has been an increased focus in estate planning to achieve a step-up in income tax basis at death. However, in most cases moving assets outside of the taxable estate and receiving a step-up in […]

read more
Have We Got It All Wrong?

By: Amy F. Altman and Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Trust & Estates Magazine published this article in their February 2016 issue, authored by partner Avi Z. Kestenbaum and associate Amy F. Altman. It asks the question, “Would you prefer to pass as much wealth as possible to your descendants? Or, would you rather give your heirs the greatest chance of truly being happy, well-adjusted, […]

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What Happens to My Debts When I Die?

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

Sarah Max, author from MONEY Magazine interviews partner, Stephen M. Breitstone to find out what happens to your debts after you die. What happens to your debts after you die depends on the type of debt, whether anyone cosigned the loan, where you live, and the size of the estate you leave behind. If you […]

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WSJ Podcast (Audio): How to Speak to Your Parents ABout Their Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Watching Your Wealth: Meltzer Lippe’s Avi Kestenbaum joins Veronica Dagher with tips on how to talk to your parents about their estate plan. Click below to listen: http://on.wsj.com/1ksrxIp

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Why the Buffet-Gates Giving Pledge Requires Limitation of the Estate Tax Charitable Deduction

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The article raises interesting issues regarding the policy, theory and history behind the charitable deduction and the estate tax.

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New Inheritance Rights for Children Conceived After Death

By: Amy F. Altman

Laws are often unable to keep up with issues that arise from devloping bio-technology. This is especailly true for the advances in assisted reproductive technologies and the lag of state inheritance laws to address the rights of children conceived after the death of a parent.

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Memento Mori: Death and Wills

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

While the process of estate planning should, by its very nature, include the contemplation of our mortality and personal legacy, it often doesn’t. In fact, despite modern society’s general fascination with death and affinity for all things macabre—like zombies and vampires—the personal estate-planning process and documents, such as wills, often are designed to avoid the direct mention of death.

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Practicing in the Age of Instant Gratification

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Living and working in today’s age of instant gratification impacts us all in our personal lives and our professional worlds. Many of our clients expect instantaneous responses to their questions, immediate solutions to their concerns and have unrealistic expectations that the estate-planning process will consistently be smooth and the end results will be excellent.

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Navigating the Discussion of Business Succession Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Christine K. Kitson

How to better address this sensitive issue with our clients. With business succession planning, there are many components and moving pieces involved, as well as tremendous obstacles. The most successful multigenerational family businesses share a commitment to charity and community development. Download the PDF for the full article.

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The Public’s Interest in Charitable Trusts: Unsettled Issues

By: Amy F. Altman

Amy F. Altman of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone and Kristin Booth Glen of City University of New York School of Law discuss three cases involving cy pres and charitable enforcement issues that raise important questions about who can protect the public interest in charitable trusts, and perhaps as important, when.

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Avi Z. Kestenbaum & the Family Business Succession Planning Crisis: A Call to Action

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The statistics are shocking and sobering. Very few family businesses successfully transition to the next generations. Estate planners may be unaware of the true reasons for this and therefore may be unable to properly help our clients.

read more
Revisiting John Ward’s Perpetuating the Family Business

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

John Ward's Perpetuating the Family Business is not about saving taxes, rather it is about saving the family and its business. The book, a self-help guidebook to family business owners, is a synthesis of Ward's experiences in advising such owners here and abroad.

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Faulty IRA Beneficiary Designations Explode Estate Plans

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

In our practice and in the real world, it is usually easier to purchase real estate than to sell real estate. This often presents real world difficulties for businesses seeking to take advantage of the "like-kind" exchange provisions under section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

read more
Know the Differences – Why All Charitable Contribution Deductions Are Not Equal

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Many tax and estate planing professionals are aware of the basic tax rules governing dedications for charitable contributions.  They know the general distinctions between the limits on income tax deductions for contributions to private foundations, and for contributions to public charities.

read more
Popular Estate Planning Techniques Can Cause Income Tax Horrors For Real Estate Owners

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

The real estate wealth created over a lifetime (or over generations) can be lost absent tax and succession planning. For the large real estate portfolio, liquidity is usually a major concern.

read more
Planning Beyond the Galaxy of Exemptions

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Mary P. O'Reilly

Besides focusing on saving transfer taxes, there are many other areas where estate planners can help and provide real benefit to their clients.

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Portability – A Dramatic Estate Tax Change

By: Howard M. Esterces

Recently enacted “portability” provisions authorize estate of decedents dying in 2011 or later to elect to transfer their unused $5 million exemption from federal estate tax (increased for inflation) to a surviving spouse.

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Integrating Self-Management With Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Christine K. Kitson

Succession planning is often the most complicated piece of the estate-planning puzzle. While tax planning has specific statutory rules and court precedents that must be followed to achieve a successful outcome, there are no official rules in succession planning and, often, no perfect solutions.

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The Virtual Clone Trustee

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Mary P. O'Reilly

Imagine your client has an identical twin who acts just like him, likes and dislikes all the same things, shares his precise values and goals and reacts and makes decisions in the exact way your client does...this isn’t just your client’s twin, but your client’s clone…wouldn’t this immortal being be the perfect candidate to serve as trustee of your client’s trusts?

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Lapsing 2012 Estate Planning Opportunities & large Estates Holding Businesses and Real Estate

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

Stephen discusses lapsing 2012 estate planning opportunities for large estates holding businesses and real estate. Stephen also explores some of the lesser-reported implications of the Obama administration’s 2012 proposed budget.

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Estate Planning for Negative Capital

By: Stephen M. Breitstone

A solution for real estate owners when the debt owed on a property exceeds its basis.

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Default in Argentina, Repercussions in New York, Self-Settled Trusts and Choice of Law

By: Jeffrey A. Galant

A choice of law provision in a trust agreement, as is the case with any contract, may not be enforceable against persons who are not parties to the agreement. This point was recently reinforced by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in EM Ltd., et.al. v. The Republic of Argentina which involved the validity of a self-settled trust created outside of the U.S. by parties who have basically no connection to the U.S. in terms of domicile or residence.

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The Quarterback Dilemma

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Estate plans originate in  a number of ways, but in every one, early on in the process, the client interacts with at least one "estate planner" who may be an accountant, insurance professional, financial advisor  or attorney.

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The State of Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Jeffrey A. Galant

On Dec. 17. 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the Act).  The Act significantly impacts the estate planning that advisors will recommend to their clients, as well as the way planners will practice now and in the future.  This article, briefly describes the Act's key estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax changes, since many other Trusts & Estates articles have previously covered these topics.  Our focus is on the Act's current and future influence on estate planning practices.

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Reckoning With New York’s Marital Right of Election

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Stephen M. Breitstone

Throughout history, many cultures have imposed restrictions on the right of an individual to freely bequeath assets. The historical basis of forced heirship was to require land to pass down to one's issue—frequently giving priority in distributions to the eldest son. Today, most U.S. jurisdictions permit one to freely disinherit their descendents....

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The Beneficiary’s Defective Inheritor’s Trust: Is It Really Defective?

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Jeffrey A. Galant

Over the last few years, there have been several articles written, as well as the issuance of Private Letter Rulings, regarding the potential benefits and tax consequences of the Beneficiary Defective Inheritor's TrustTM.  Briefly, the BDIT is an irrevocable trust, which is structured to be a "grantor trust" with respect to the beneficiary and not the grantor, yet allows the trust assets to be accessible to the beneficiary in this "best of both worlds" planning approach.

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Risk Assessment: Do It At The Outset of All Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Financial professionals do it. Insurance professionals do it. Actuaries certainly do it. Yet we, as tax and estate planning professionals, all too often recommend techniques and strategies without doing it. And that “it” is risk assessment.

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It’s Personal

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The important role Trusts & Estates attorneys have as family counselors is the topic of this New York Law Journal article.

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True Counselor

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The important role Trusts & Estates attorneys have as family counselors is the topic of this New York Law Journal article.

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Prop. Regs. Reduce Many Required Minimum Distributions

By: Howard M. Esterces

Howard Esterces, a member of Meltzer Lippe's Estate and Trusts Group, discusses that those who have already begun receiving required minimum distributions from IRAs and qualified plans may be able to reduce their annual withdrawals—thereby increasing their tax deferral.

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SCINs Are Still Useful Tools Despite Recent Decision

By: Howard M. Esterces

A SCIN typically arises through the sale of shares of stock or an interest in real estate to a family member

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Rights of Surviving Spouses To Pension Benefits

By: Howard M. Esterces

REA mandates payment of retirement benefits as a qualified joint and survivor annuity with a spouse (QJSA), and payment of a qualified pre-retirement survivor annuity death benefit to a surviving spouse (QPSA). These payments may be waived by a spouse who is not a member of the retirement plan under certain conditions.

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Use Disclaimers to Add Flexibility and Hindsight to Estate Plans

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

The disclaimer can be a helpful tax and estate planning tool if used correctly. Often, the disclaimer is employed as a postmortem remedial device to fend off adverse tax repercussions and other unintended consequences of an estate plan gone awry. Other times, the anticipated use of the disclaimer is consciously incorporated into the estate plan by its drafter to preserve tax and distributive flexibility at the decedent’s death. Although, this article focuses on the application of the disclaimer in the estate tax context, significant non-tax objectives may also justify its use.

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WSJ Podcast (Audio): What Prince’s Death Teaches About Estate Planning

By: Avi Z. Kestenbaum

When Prince died without a will, it raised a lot of questions about his estate. Meltzer Lippe’s Avi Kestenbaum discusses why people put off estate planning and what the death of Prince can teach us about how to prepare for the future.   Click here to listen: http://on.wsj.com/1TfFN1E

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