Among the more common estate plans for married couples is what is sometimes referred to as a sweetheart estate plan. Such a plan provides for the entirety of the deceased spouse’s estate to pass to the surviving spouse; on the death of the surviving spouse, whatever remains will pass to the couple’s children or other designated heirs. Mutual reciprocal wills can be used to accomplish this intent. Of course, on the death of the surviving … Read more
Aug 3, 2017
Jul 18, 2017
In a recent blog, we discussed the advantages of incorporating your retirement plan (i.e., pension plans, 401(k) plans, employer established IRA plans, etc.) into your overall estate plan. As we discussed, this can be a complex matter because the tax advantages which are accorded to retirement accounts are generally not extended to heirs or designated beneficiaries once the retirement account owner has died.
By way of summary, we have identified three goals you may … Read more
Jun 12, 2017
Retirement plans (i.e., pension plans, 401(k) plans, employer established IRA plans, etc.) account for the majority of assets held by most Americans. Plans which meet certain legal requirements set forth under the federal ERISA law enjoy favorable tax treatment in order to promote growth and provide a comfortable retirement for the account holder. For example, the account holder is permitted to defer taking any distributions from his/her retirement account until the calendar year in which … Read more
May 10, 2017
More than a century ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, “the life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.” I wonder what Justice Holmes would think of the matter these days when cases come down the pike which seem to run counter to both logic and experience.
For a case in point, consider a report from the Oregonian recently describing how a lawsuit against Washington County for the drowning deaths of four … Read more
Apr 3, 2017
A recent decision from our federal appeals court ruled that drivers of the Yellow Cab Company in Phoenix, Arizona are not employees of the cab company but, instead, are independent contractors who are not entitled to the minimum wages required by either Arizona law or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The decision was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming a trial court decision issued by … Read more
Mar 13, 2017
There are approximately 50,000 merchant ships engaged in international trade, transporting every kind of cargo. Fewer than 200 of those ships fly the American flag. 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
The 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
Benjamin 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
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