So I’ve not posted for a while.  In fact, you’ll note that I mention in the below post that my son was about a month from arriving…  Well, arrive he did.  On 6/18/2012 Tommy arrived and, smiling almost ever since, has kept me fairly occupied.  I don’t mean to blame him so-to-speak for why I’ve not posted anything of substance recently, but, well…  It is what it is.  Hopefully this picture will tide you over till I can find the time and inspiration to post here again.  It will happen; though exactly when I cannot say.

Sad Updates

Its been a while since I’ve written anything here and, though I fully intend to get back to it in the coming months, a couple sad events required mentioning:

MCA died last Friday.  The number of tributes available on the web make this small entry seem, well, really small, but in the timeline of my life his influence was almost immeasurable so some mention is needed on this wall.

Then this morning I find out that Maurice Sendak died.  With my first child about a month out now, his advice:

Parents shouldn’t assume children are made out of sugar candy and will break and collapse instantly. Kids don’t. We do.

Is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

A sad couple days.

So Many Great Blogs, So Little Time

My Google Reader account is getting pretty full-up.  There’s so many great resources out there for estate planning that it’s getting hard to keep up!  It’s a nice problem to have I guess…

The first new discovery is The Nevada Trust Reporter.  Neil Schoenblum has been working on a this relatively new blog with his colleague, Jason Helquist and Neil reached out to me yesterday.  I was impressed by what I found.  The blog is a Nevada-based commentary on trust law and asset protection.  One of their recent posts contains Neil’s interview with attorney Steve Oshins (a nationally acclaimed estate planning and asset protection attorney at Oshins & Associates, LLC ( regarding Nevada’s recent legislation, SB 405, extending charging order protection to single member LLCs.  Steve was instrumental in the drafting of this part of the bill.  Its a great read and a great start to a new blog I have added to my feed aggregator and will be paying close attention to.

The next site is Legacy-By-Design.  The hyphens matter.  Its a site that aggregates resources for planning advice that is specific to the farmers and agri-business community.  I’ve never worked with them before so I can’t vouch for their work-product but I met an impressive woman today who did so; so that’s something.  I’ll likely be giving them a call soon to ask about some assistance with some of my farm clients that I’m still trying to get some planning done.  I’ll keep you guys updated.

Shameless Plug – ABA Top 100 Recommendations

Hello dear readers

The ABA is working on their annual list of the Top 100 Legal Blogs in the country.  If you think site is one that is deserving of the honor, would you mind terribly filling out this little form here to let them know?

First Lexis Top 25, now the ABA, then the world!

(Sorry, I got alittle caught up there.)

Ohio’s Estate Tax Is No More!

Its official folks!  Just this afternoonGovernor Kasich signed the bill repealing the Ohio estate tax .

“By repealing this suffocating tax, Gov. Kasich and the Ohio legislature have made their state stronger – and made it a model for the remaining 21 other states who continue to impose state estate or inheritance taxes, including three of Ohio’s neighbors: Indiana, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania,” says Dick Patten, president of the American Family Business Institute, a no-death-tax lobbying group.

The repeal takes effect January 1, 2013.

For 2011, Ohio is still one of 22 states that along with the District of Columbia currently have estate and/or inheritance taxes. (Yes, that’s separate from the federal estate tax). Among estate tax states, Ohio currently has the lowest exemption amount per estate, just $338,333, but the lowest top rate at 7%. The more dollars in an estate, the more the rate matters as opposed to the exemption amount– that is the amount an individual can leave without paying tax.

Once the Ohio repeal becomes law, New Jersey will have the distinction of being the state with the lowest estate exemption at $675,000.

Click here for a map of where not to die.

My man Brad picked up on this earlier today.   The above quotes were lifted from this article at

Leading Ladies – Now On The Small ScreenToo!

In a prior post I commented on a project that I was lucky to be involved in with a client that I had a wonderful time representing: A small, first-time production of a full length feature film that happened to also be a musical.  Leading Ladies had a very successful run on the international festival circuit and has recently achieved the very rare (but also well-deserved) honor of finding distribution.

You can now add Leading Ladies to your Netflix Cue and pre-order a copy of the DVD!

Adding the moving to your cue – by hitting the “Save” button on the Netflix site – costs you nothing but you’ll be helping out talented independant film makers and, when the movie comes out in September, if you want, you’ll get to watch one of the most loved movies of 2010-2011 festival circuit.  To get a preview of what reviewers and critics have said about the movie check this out.


What Now For Same Sex Couples In New York? – Estate Planning Thoughts


Having not posted anything for a while it seems appropriate that my return-post – if I can be dramatic about it – should be on the subject that I’ve dedicated a fair amount of screen space to, that of marriage equality.  So thanks to NYC for bring me back to the blog-o-webs!

Now that the GLBT community can finally *really* ask people to buy them stuff from a wedding registry there are likley to be a number of changes relevant to estate planning for them, not all of which can be forseen.  From Professor Beyer though comes a list of some of the most likley changes.

  • Couples can file a joint state tax return but will have to file separate federal tax returns. For couples who earn less than $65,000 a year jointly, the amount they pay in state income taxes may decrease because they will receive a marriage bonus. Couples in a higher bracket, however, may end up paying more by filing a joint tax return.
  • Couples may spend more time and money preparing their tax returns as they must prepare a dummy federal tax return using a married status in order to use that data while filing their state joint tax return.
  • New York allows spouses to transfer an unlimited amount of assets at their death; individuals must pay state estate tax on estates over $1 million. (Couples will still be considered as individuals with regard to federal estate and gift taxes).
  • Spouses of state employees will be eligible for health insurance, pension survivor benefits, and any other benefits available for state employees.
  • For married lesbian couples having a baby, the woman who did not give birth to the couple’s child will also be recognized as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. (It may still be wise to have a formal adoption to secure the child’s legal status to both women).
  • For married gay men using a surrogate, only the biological father will be listed on the child’s birth certificate. In New York, the surrogate mother must relinquish her maternal rights before the other father can adopt the child.
  • Spouses may now bring wrongful death claims and receive worker’s compensation benefits if their spouse dies in a work-related injury.
  • Couples will receive federal benefits if the Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman) is ever struck down.

Now, we’ll have to wait for the family law blawgers to update us on the new state of their businesses!

Hans Sarji’s Awesome Post About The New Bi-partisan Effort To Repeal The Estate Tax

I frequently reference other blogs here.  I’ll typically use such content as a jumping off point to ruminate on the same subject or to dovetail into a separate but related subject…  Not this time.

This post yesterday from Hans Sarji who publishes Estate of Confusion – which is another honoree by LexisNexis as one the nation’s top 25 Probate, Elder Law and Estate Planning blogs – is just so good that all I can do is point your way to it and insist that you read it.

On March 30, 2011, Rep. Kevin Brady[R-TX-8] introduced a bill in U.S. House of Representatives—H.R. 1259, the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2011.

As of April 1, 2011, four representatives are cosponsoring the bill. Two representatives are Democrats: Rep. Dan Boren [D-OK-2], Rep. Kristi L. Noem [R-SD], Rep. Devin Nunes [R-CA-21], Rep. Mike Ross [D-AR-4].

Repeal estate tax. These representatives believe that the federal estate tax should be permanently repealed. They provide a number of reasons.

  • Hurts family farms and small businesses. In the press releasefor H.R. 1259, Rep. Brady stated, “The Death Tax is still the #1 reason family farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation. It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people.” Rep. Boren explained, “Estate taxes are especially harmful to farmers, ranchers, and other small businesses because these operations tend to be capital-intensive with a high concentration of assets tied up in land, buildings, and equipment.”
  • Destroys jobs. In a telephone news conference on March 31, 2011, Rep. Brady said, the estate tax “destroys jobs, lowering employment in America by 1.5 million jobs. And it’s because small business are responsible for 60 to 80% of all new jobs in the last decade, and ending the estate tax would give our economy a $119 billion boost.” 
  • Hurts savers. Rep. Brady asked, “Can you imagine working your whole life to build up a nest egg or family business – only to see Uncle Sam swoop in to take more than half of it upon your death?”
  • Is poorly timed. Rep. Noem said, “The death tax is unfair and hurts family farms, ranches and small businesses at the worst possible time . . . Death simply should not be a taxable event.” Rep. Nunes argued, “There is no reason why American families should have to answer a knock on the door by the IRS during a time of sorrow.”
  • Is a form of double taxation. Rep. Nunes referred to the estate tax as “one of the worst forms of double taxation in the United States. He explained, “Money that has already been taxed when a person is alive is taxed yet again at death.”

Repeal GST tax. In addition to permanently repealing the federal estate tax, H.R. 1259 would permanently repeal the generation-skipping transfer tax.

Permanent gift tax reform. Further, H.R. 1259 would keep the gift tax at rate of 35%, with an exemption of $5 million for individuals. The gift tax is currently levied at a rate of 35% for transfers over $5 million. But unless Congress acts, the gift tax is scheduled to increase in 2013. The rate in 2013 would jump to 55% and the exemption would drop to a mere $1 million. For more about this scheduled tax increase, see Wealth Transfer Taxes In 2013.

Effective date. Changes made by H.R. 1259 would be effective on the day the bill becomes law.

That’s all you get.  Read the rest of the post here.

Damn fine job Hans.  Keep up the great work.

Thanks For Voting!

Thank you to all who voted for this blog as one of LexisNexis’ Top 25 Estate Probate and Elder Law Blogs of 2011!  You did it!  I am honored to count myself among such a great list of winning blogs.  All of their publishers work hard to make their blogs entertaining and informative so its nice to see them getting the recognition they deserve.

I’ll post again about this when they start the voting for the TOP blog, but until then, thanks for reading!


Last Day To Vote!

In a prior post I announced that this blog had been nominated as a “Top Estate, Probate, and Elder Law Blog” by LexisNexis.  Well today is the last day to vote for your favorite blog.  To vote for me (or anyone else):
  1. Click on the image below or click here.
  2. Create a free LexisNexis Communities account (if you don’t have one).
  3. Post a comment indicating that you are voting for The Ohio Trust & Estate Blog –  (Comments count as votes.)


Thanks!  And thanks for reading!