Hunt & Associates P.C.

Mar 13, 2017

Another Stab at Cargo Preference for the U.S. Merchant Marine

Cargo ShipThere are approximately 50,000 merchant ships engaged in international trade, transporting every kind of cargo.[1]  Fewer than 200 of those ships fly the American flag.[2]  What is left of the U.S. merchant marine is heavily dependent on cargo preference laws; i.e., federal statutes which mandate that shippers transport certain cargos on U.S. flag vessels.  For example, any military cargo shipped by sea must be carried in a U.S. flag ship.  Other laws mandate … Read more

Mar 8, 2017

Guardianships in Oregon: What Reforms are Needed?

Training - 030817The Oregon legislature is considering making changes to guardianship proceedings which would include uniform policies throughout the state with respect to court appointed visitors.  The visitor occupies an important place in a guardianship proceeding.  The visitor’s job is to interview and evaluate the respondent (i.e., the person who is alleged to be in need of a guardian) and then report back to the court with a recommendation whether or not to appoint a guardian. Judges … Read more

Feb 27, 2017

Executor of Estate Found Personally Liable to IRS for Decedent’s Unpaid Taxes

Gold dollar signsBenjamin Franklin once observed “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  For those who doubt Franklin’s sagacity in that regard, consider the recent case of Marci McNicol.  A federal court found her personally liable to the Internal Revenue Services to the tune of $125,000.00 with respect to taxes owed by her late husband.  Here’s what happened.

On his death, in addition to their four minor children, McNicol’s husband … Read more

Feb 20, 2017

Oaths and Oath Breaking

Barack Obama Oath“When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t  hope to find himself again.”

 Paul Scofield, as Sir Thomas More, in A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Once upon a time, an oath taken by a public official meant something, consequences notwithstanding, as dramatized in the Hollywood classic movie of more than 50 years ago, A Man for Read more

Feb 14, 2017

What Happens When Dad Gives Your Inheritance to His New Girlfriend?

InheritanceMost folks will acknowledge that an adult of sound mind is free to give his money and property to whomever he pleases, both during his lifetime and after death, as directed by his estate plan.  Such an acknowledgement, however, is subject to qualification, particularly when the soundness of the giver’s mind is called into question.  This can arise in a variety of scenarios, often when the giver makes someone new the object of his affections … Read more

Feb 7, 2017

Will the Federal Estate Tax Be Repealed this Year? If So, Will Anyone Notice?

House of RepresentativesCompanion bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate to repeal the federal estate tax.  On January 24, 2017, Representative Noem introduced H.R. 631 which was referred to the House’s Ways and Means Committee for consideration.   The same day, Senator Thune introduced comparable legislation in the Senate.  If enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump, no federal estate tax would be assessed against estates of decedents dying thereafter.… Read more

Jan 31, 2017

What Becomes Of Fido When You Are No Longer There?

OllieWhen most people think of estate planning, I would venture a guess that their thoughts don’t usually include making provision for their pets in the event of their own untimely passing.  That is not surprising given that most of us assume, correctly, that we will outlive our beloved four-legged companions.  However, experience shows that such is not always the case.  So, as you look deeply into the eyes of your faithful and devoted canine/feline, ask … Read more

Jan 23, 2017

The New Year Brings Some Changes to Estate Planning

Tax - 012317With the change of the calendar to a new year, there are some changes in the law which might be of interest to you and even impact your estate plan.  For example:

  • In the State of Washington, the “applicable exclusion amount” has increased from $2,079,000.00 to $2,129,000.00. By statute, the change in the exclusion tax is calculated by reference to the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton metropolitan area October consumer price index (CPI).  So, a Washington resident who dies
Read more

Jan 6, 2017

Oregon Court Says “No” to DHS’ Medicaid Rule Change

Supreme Court - 010617In a long-awaited decision, the Oregon Supreme Court has struck down Medicaid repayment rules issued by the Department of Human Services in 2008.  The court ruled that DHS did not have the legal authority to issue rules which would allow it to recover Medicaid payments from assets a Medicaid recipient transferred to his or her spouse up to five years prior to applying for Medicaid.  The decision upholds a 2014 ruling from a lower court … Read more

Dec 20, 2016

Disabled Individuals Can Now Establish Their Own Special Needs Trusts

vintage-1537992_1920Congress has just enacted legislation that allows disabled beneficiaries of means tested programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to establish their own special needs trusts.  Until now, such trusts had to be established by persons other than the disabled individual even when the trust’s funding source was the disabled individual’s own assets.  The new law, known as the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, changes that and allows such trusts to be established … Read more