New COVID Relief Legislation Provides Tax Benefit

Written by Jeffrey D. Davine The new COVID relief bill extends (and modifies) certain provisions that were included in the CARES Act that was enacted in March.  This legislation, signed by the President on December 27, will provide $900 billion of additional financial assistance to individuals and businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. Among the provisions contained in the new legislation is funding for additional … Continue reading New COVID Relief Legislation Provides Tax Benefit

Proposition 19 Set to End Major Property Tax Exemption

Written by Rachel Ronca Proposition 19 will essentially end your ability to transfer real estate to your children free of property tax reassessment.[1]  If you have a legacy property that you intend to pass to the next generation (regardless of whether it is your home, or it is a rental, commercial or industrial property), you must act quickly. Generally, when real estate changes ownership, the property … Continue reading Proposition 19 Set to End Major Property Tax Exemption

Do CRTs and CLTs Need To Be Registered With the CA Attorney General?

Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Lead Trusts: California Attorney General Registration Rules Written by Jeffrey Davine It is common knowledge in the nonprofit community that a charitable entity operating in California is required to register with the California Attorney General.  The initial registration is accomplished by filing Form CT-1 with the California Attorney General and paying the registration fee.  The Form CT-1 should be filed … Continue reading Do CRTs and CLTs Need To Be Registered With the CA Attorney General?

The Sky Is Falling

What to do about potential tax hikes with a possible change in Presidential Administrations Written by Allan Cutrow A recent commentary by Philip DeMuth in the Wall Street Journal suggested that a tax hike under a Biden administration would be quite severe. In addition to warning about income tax adjustments affecting rates and capital gains taxation, Mr. DeMuth cautioned that potentially significant changes to the … Continue reading The Sky Is Falling


Written by Lia Momtsios There are not many things to be thankful for during the time of COVID-19, but Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (or “GRATs”) are one of them.  GRATs are a tax planning vehicle that allows the donor to transfer income-producing assets into a trust and out of his or her estate (thereby reducing or eliminating the imposition of estate tax upon death), while … Continue reading THE MAGIC HOUR FOR GRATs

Time to Make Gifts of California Real Property May be Running Out

Written by Rachel Ronca On November 3, 2020, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, the “Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildlife Agencies and Counties Amendment,” a measure that seeks to amend the California Constitution with respect to the current property tax system.  If the proposed constitutional amendment passes, it will significantly narrow one of the most commonly used exemptions from property tax reassessment: … Continue reading Time to Make Gifts of California Real Property May be Running Out

Is this the Golden Age of CLATs?

Written by David Wheeler Newman and  Daniel Cousineau

The charitable lead trust has always been a powerful vehicle to balance philanthropic and estate planning objectives.  The recent convergence of two factors that are critically important in the planning dynamic for charitable lead annuity trusts (CLATs) create a planning environment that is so favorable for CLATs, it is no exaggeration to suggest that the current period may be the golden age of CLATs, presenting a very interesting planning opportunity for wealthy families.  But that opportunity is temporary, since the convergence of these factors is unlikely to continue for very long. Continue reading “Is this the Golden Age of CLATs?”

Estate Planning in the Time of COVID-19

Written by Rachel Ronca and Seth W. Krasilovsky

Preparing and properly executing estate planning documents requires much care and consideration under “normal” circumstances.  The COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant shelter-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, has made the estate planning process a logistically complicated necessity.  Under the California Probate Code, the execution of estate planning documents requires a combination of notarization and witnessing.  How can this be accomplished when non‑essential businesses are closed or working off‑site, and people are increasingly cautious of interactions outside of their homes?  The Trusts & Estates department at MSK is prepared to assist you through the preparation and execution of your estate planning documents, allowing you peace of mind in these uncertain and difficult times. Continue reading “Estate Planning in the Time of COVID-19”

COVID Conversion

Written by Allan B. Cutrow

Unfortunately, the current health and economic crises have significantly and negatively affected asset values. However, these depressed asset values create significant planning opportunities to consider. One is the conversion of a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.

Many investors often consider converting their traditional IRA into a Roth IRA as part of their overall retirement planning. Investments in a Roth IRA have the potential to not only grow tax-free (in the same manner as a traditional IRA), but also do not have required minimum distributions during the lifetime of the original owner and his or her spouse. Continue reading “COVID Conversion”

Volatility Provides Opportunity

Estate Planning Opportunities in a Volatile, Low Interest Rate Environment

Written by Jeffrey Eisen, Autumn Ronda and Joyce Feuille 

The recent dramatic decline in the value of the stock market, and overall economic volatility, has left us all worried about our financial health, not to mention the COVID-19 virus creating fears regarding our general health.  In these uncertain times, there are steps to take for those who are in a position to transfer wealth to future generations now, as well as steps to take even if you do not wish to transfer wealth currently.

First, for everyone, if you are spending more time at home than ever, use some of it to review your basic estate plan to make sure it is up to date, and reflects your current desires.

Second, if you have been procrastinating in making lifetime gifts to your heirs while we have a temporarily generous estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemption now may be the time to pull the trigger.

Continue reading “Volatility Provides Opportunity”