Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

Florida Probate & Trust Litigation Blog

By Juan C. Antúnez of Stokes McMillan Antúnez P.A.

Category Archives: Tax Cases

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Will a faith-based arbitration clause disqualify your trust for tax purposes?

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Settling, Mediating & Arbitrating Inheritance Cases, Tax Cases
Mikel v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2015-64, 2015 WL 1518063 (U.S.Tax Ct. April 6, 2015) We aren’t doing our jobs as estate planners if we don’t anticipate — and plan accordingly for — the structural limitations inherent to an overworked and underfunded state court system that asks our judges to juggle thousands of cases at a time. (In Miami-Dade – on… Continue Reading

Tax Court: Is a beneficiary’s claim to a distributive share of the estate tax deductible?

Posted in Tax Cases
Estate of Bates v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo. 2012-314, 2012 WL 5445778 (U.S.Tax Ct. Nov. 7, 2012) While we know what the federal estate tax rules are until the end of 2012, what happens in 2013 and beyond is anyone’s guess. Under current law the estate tax exemption is scheduled to drop significantly from $5,120,000 in 2012 to $1,000,000… Continue Reading

Estate planners beware: to err is human, but the cover up can land you in jail

Posted in Ethics & Malpractice Claims, Tax Cases
The competitive pressures and technical complexities of a sophisticated estate planning practice can be daunting. Not surprisingly, estate planning is one of the most common areas for legal malpractice claims. For me, what really matters is not whether you’ve ever made a mistake (no one’s perfect), it’s what you do after you realize you’ve made a… Continue Reading

S.D. Tex: Unpaid taxes on $35 million gift + bad legal advice = personal liability for executor and trustee

Posted in Tax Cases
United States v. MacIntyre, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2012 WL 2403491 (S.D. Tex. June 25, 2012) A personal representative (“PR”) is personally liable for paying the decedent’s remaining tax bills, be they income taxes, gift taxes or estate taxes. That’s right, when you say “yes” to serving as someone’s PR, you also say “yes” to personally guaranteeing their… Continue Reading

No estate tax in 2010 = potential probate litigation: Florida enacts statutory fix

Posted in Tax Cases
Congress shocked everyone by letting the estate tax lapse in 2010. What I’ve found most interesting about this state of affairs are the unintended consequences: First, no estate tax in 2010 is great news for the super rich, like George Steinbrenner’s heirs, but bad news for the moderately wealthy, people who have assets between $1.3… Continue Reading

11th Cir: Personal Representative liable for over $50,000 in taxes and penalties on cash the estate never received

Posted in Tax Cases
United States v. Guyton, Jr., 2010 WL 1172428 (11th Cir. March 26, 2010) In this case a father sold his McAlpin, Florida poultry farm in January of 2000 and died six months later. Before his death dad deposited the sales proceeds in a joint account held with his son “Blake.” These joint account funds went… Continue Reading

Probate Litigators Need to Know about the New IRS Regulations under Section 2053 Governing Estate Tax Deductions for Administration Expenses and Claims Against Estates

Posted in Tax Cases
At a top current rate of 45%, the federal estate tax automatically makes the IRS the single largest creditor of most large estates. If the estate tax is looming in the background it’s imperative that every decision made by the parties and their lawyers with respect to how they characterize and prosecute their trust/probate claims be… Continue Reading

Minimizing a Personal Representative’s Personal Liability to Pay Taxes

Posted in Tax Cases
I’ve recently been lecturing on tax issues in play in probate and trust litigation [click here]. After giving this lecture a couple of times I noticed a pattern: the single tax question most probate lawyers were concerned with was how to limit a personal representative’s personal tax-exposure risk, which is inherent to all probate administrations. Here’s the problem:… Continue Reading

4th DCA: When does a surviving spouse’s “elective share” take an estate-tax hit?

Posted in Marital Agreements and Spousal Rights, Spousal Elective Share Claims, Tax Cases
Boulis v. Blackburn, — So.3d —-, 2009 WL 2382358 (Fla. 4th DCA Aug 05, 2009) The decedent at the heart of this probate battle, Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, was a Greek immigrant and self-made millionaire who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and… Continue Reading

Cautionary Tale: Attorney Goes to Jail for Filing False Estate Tax Return

Posted in Ethics & Malpractice Claims, Tax Cases
Estate tax returns are complicated and technically demanding for even the most experienced attorney or CPA. Add to that mix the pressure sometimes applied by family members who are flabbergasted by the amount of tax they have to pay. This story should be shared with any client tempted to push the envelope or play the… Continue Reading