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January 2014 Archives

Is it time for Pennsylvania to abolish the inheritance tax?

Inheritance taxes (or estate taxes as they are often called) are a controversial part of both state and federal tax law. Depending on how one looks at the situation, estate taxes may be seen as a useful way to redistribute money from the wealthiest families to render aid to the poorest. On the other hand, some who are subject to estate taxes see this type of levy as double-taxation on income already earned and taxed in other ways.

Court resolves conflict over error on wills

A couple created wills together back in 1999 and like a lot of people, put the wills away and did not revisit them for quite a long time. At the time that the wills were created, the couple had given each document identical terms so that there would be no confusion about where property and other assets should go. Unfortunately, at the time that the wills were signed and witness a mistake at their lawyer’s office resulted in each signing the other’s will. The switched signatures were not discovered until after the second of the two spouses passed away in 2006.

Dispute over heiressís wishes continues

Although many thought it ended late last year with a settlement agreement, the battle over the rightful beneficiaries of mining heiress Huguette Clarke continues. A nurse who cared for the wealthy recluse overnight for about two decades says that she was left out of settlement agreement talks and denied gifts that the heiress promised her.

Dispute over inheritance leads to shooting

An 80-year-old man was recent convicted of attempted murder in a middle-of-the-night shooting that took place at the home of his son. Prosecutors said that the man showed up at his son’s home and attempted to kill him after the son inherited an estate from the man’s mother that he apparently expected to receive.

Enforceability of mandatory arbitration of trusts

Trust settlors in eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware may have heard about a decision by the Texas Supreme Court regarding the mandatory arbitration of trusts. The court held that mandatory arbitration was enforceable in a particular case because that was the intention of the person who established the trust.

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