Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gift Tax Exemption Amount for 2010

As David Goldman of the Florida Estate Planning Lawyer Blog recently noted, the IRS has announced that the annual gift tax exemption amount for 2010 will stay at $13,000.00. This represents the amount that each individual can give to another person without having to either pay any gift tax or file a gift tax return. If you decide to make a gift in excess of the exemption amount, then it is necessary to prepare and file a gift tax return with the IRS. Whether you will have to pay any gift tax on a gift depends on how much you gifted already during your life.

For more information on using the valuable estate planning tool of gifts, contact an estate planning attorney.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Social Security Benefits for Posthumously Conceived Child Upheld

In a follow-up to a recent post I had on the Iowa Law Blog, Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register recently updated the situation concerning a young girl's application for social security benefits as a result of her father's death. A federal judge has overturned the rejection of benefits and thus permits her to receive benefits. The article continues to point out that legislators are examining long overdue updates to the Iowa statute to address these types of situations. The Social Security Administration has until January 11, 2010 to appeal.

The complexities that are involved in cases like this are challenging. A recent Probate Section meeting of the Iowa State Bar began to examine some of the issues and an approach to take with this issue. The discussion revealed that there is a split in the probate section as a result of numerous questions and possible approaches. Beyond the basic philosophical question of is this "right", there other other related matters beyond social security benefits. Can the father's wishes restrict future usage of his genetic material? Does he need to sign a written consent to authorize the use after his death? Should that consent be notarized? How far in the future will this material be permitted to be utilized? How will this impact settlement of estates and determination of heirs? How does this issue impact review of real property titles in abstract examinations?

I look forward to how the Iowa legislature approaches this issue in the spring and hopefully they consider all of the interrelated issues.