March 2014           News | Upcoming Programs & CLE | Reports | Get Involved


Introductory Estate Planning for Every Lawyer - Case Studies
March 20
6:00-9:00 PM

This program will introduce the basics of the estate, gift and generation skipping taxes, go over the application of common estate planning techniques and discuss the role of life insurance in estate planning.


An Introduction to the Probate Process and How to Avoid It
April 30
6:00-9:00 PM
This program is an introduction to the probate process in NYS and will include a review of the probate process, requirements, forms and pre-mortem preparation as well as to typical issues that arise in administering estates. There will also be a brief discussion of probate contests and 1404 depositions. Finally, there will be a review of why and how to avoid the probate process using revocable trusts and other legal entities.


The Multi-State Trusts & Estates Practice: How Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, New Jersey & Pennsylvania Laws Affect New York T&E Practitioners
Tuesday, June 3
6:00 - 9:00 PM

The panel, consisting of Connecticut, Florida, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania attorneys who are recognized experts in the field of trusts and estates law, will review the laws of those states governing estates and trusts, will highlight the significant differences among such states regarding those laws, and will discuss traps for the unwary that need to be avoided.


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Around the Bar

The Committees on Estate & Gift Taxation and Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Courts met recently with officials from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. From left: Paul A. Ferrara, Chair, Committee on Estate & Gift Taxation; Robert D. Plattner, Deputy Commissioner for Tax Policy, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance; Thomas H. Mattox, Commissioner, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance; and Sharon L. Klein, Chair, Committee on Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Courts.

Enacted Legislation
The City Bar’s Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts Committee supported two bills that were signed into law at the end of last year. The first deals with the tax treatment of trusts created for surviving spouses who are not U.S. citizens (A.6556-A/S.4851-A). This law applies to the estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2010, and has a sunset date of July 1, 2016. The second, relating to settlement of account by a resigning fiduciary (A.7062/S.4272), and went into effect on November 13, 2013 and applies to estates of decedents dying on or after that date.

New York Estate and Gift Tax Proposals

The Committees on Estate & Gift Taxation and Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Courts issued a report concerning certain aspects of (1) the Final Report of the New York State Tax Reform and Fairness Commission and (2) the Final Report of the New York State Tax Relief Commission. In particular, the Committees support raising the New York estate tax exemption from $1 million to $5 million so that it is consistent with the federal estate tax exemption; support a phased-in reduction of New York's top estate tax rate from 16% to 10%; support the elimination of the New York generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax; urge caution with respect to reinstating the gift tax; and oppose subjecting to New York income tax those nongrantor trusts (or New York beneficiaries of such nongrantor trusts) that are currently exempt from New York income tax under the "New York Resident Trust Exception" which applies to nongrantor trusts for which (a) all of the trustees are domiciled outside of New York State; (b) all real and tangible trust property is located outside of New York State; and (c) all trust income and gains is derived from sources outside of New York State.

Confidential Personal Data in Surrogate’s Court
The Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts submitted comments on the Office of Court Administration’s proposal to adopt a new rule to the Uniform Rules for Surrogate’s Court, 22 NYCRR § 207.64, which would limit public access to certain documents containing confidential personal identifying and financial data. The comments, which represent the Association’s position, support the Proposed Rule as representing a reasonable and necessary balance, given the high volume of confidential information in Surrogate’s Court filings and the threat of identity theft, between two compelling state interests: the transparency of judicial proceedings, and the privacy rights of individuals. The comments include two recommendations: 1) clarifying certain language; 2) adding a requirement that practitioners must redact certain identifying information when filing papers with the court. The submission also included comments of the Committee on Communications and Media Law, which objected to the Rule as subverting the long-settled, constitutionally-protected presumption that court proceedings and court documents are open to the public. The Association’s submission also noted that the sealing of court records should be guided by the general principle that sealing should be no broader than necessary to protect the threatened interest.

Posthumously Conceived Children
The Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts expressed support for A.7461/S.4779-A, which would amend the EPTL in relation to inheritance by children conceived after the death of a genetic parent. The two key elements of the legislation are: 1) it would provide that, if certain conditions are met, a child conceived after the death of a parent with the genetic material of such parent (a “genetic parent”) would be considered (i) a distributee of the genetic parent, and (ii) included in the class of the genetic parent’s issue for any disposition made by the genetic parent at any time, and for any disposition made by anyone other than the genetic parent after September 1, 2013; and 2) it would provide that the Executor or Administrator of a genetic parent’s estate may delay paying a testamentary disposition or distributive share until the birth of a genetic child entitled to inherit under EPTL § 4-1.3, provided that notice of the existence of the genetic parent’s genetic material has been given.

Committee Involvement--It's Never too Late
Committees are how the City Bar’s work gets done. Working on a committee can give you great experience while opening up a number of career doors, some you may not even anticipate.

A full list of the City Bar committees along with a brief description of each and an application form can be found on the City Bar’s website. As a number of City Bar committees have more applicants than available slots, please consider applying to more than one committee.

Legislative Affairs
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