Sometimes disputes arise under a will or trust, such as a contest about the validity of a will, a dispute about the meaning of the terms of a will or trust, or an action against a trustee. When that happens, we work to resolve the dispute out of court, if possible. When the dispute cannot be resolved by settlement, the firm’s seasoned trial lawyers work with our experienced trusts and estates lawyers to take the case to court.
In 2011, we won a ground-breaking ruling in the highest court of the District of Columbia. In this case, the personal representative had relied upon the estate’s attorney to file an estate tax return on time, but the attorney had failed to do so. The appeals court held that the personal representative was not personally liable to the heirs of the estate for the mistakes made by the attorney. Our advocacy led to this important ruling that clearly delineates the duties of the personal representative and the attorney for an estate.
Most of us are concerned with protecting our personal information from getting into the wrong hands. We take precautions to protect our privacy such as password protecting computers and mobile devices, using passwords for online services, limiting personal information on social media profiles, and carefully choosing when to give out social security numbers and birth dates.
Court files are public records. Most such files are available to be reviewed in person by any member of the public; eventually they may be accessible over the internet. If you are ever a party in a legal dispute you may be concerned about how to protect your personal information from becoming available in a public record. In recent years, courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia… MORE >
Vicki Viramontes-LaFree, partner in the Divorce and Family Law Group, participated in a panel as part of Suburban Hospital’s Estate Planning Journal Club Speaker Series. The subject was “Grey Divorce: From the Legal, Financial and Mental Health Perspectives.” In 2013, a study found that the divorce rate after age 50 doubled and that it more than doubled for those 65 and older. The panel discussion focused on special challenges for divorcing baby boomers as they grapple with children leaving home, anxiety about financial security and the ability to retire, the tension between supporting children in college and the support needs of a spouse, the prospect of a reduced lifestyle after retirement and after assets are split in two, having to sell the family home, and… MORE >
Jan White and Linda Ravdin were named yet again on Washingtonian’s list of Washington’s Top Divorce Lawyers. Congratulations, Linda and Jan!
Partner Alex Tanouye recently presented to attorneys in the Maryland State Bar Association’s Estate and Gift Tax Study Group. Alex’s presentation – entitled “Maryland’s Spousal Elective Share: What’s In, What’s Out, What’s Next?” – took place in Potomac and was televised via simulcast in Baltimore.
In July 2016, the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) adopted the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act (UFLAA). It can now be considered for enactment by state legislatures. Ideally, it will be enacted by all states and the District of Columbia so that there will be a uniform approach to arbitration of family law disputes across the U.S.
These are the key provisions:
Scope. Parties can agree to submit any existing or future family law dispute to binding arbitration, including division of property, a claim for spousal support, custody and child support, a claim of breach of a marital agreement or a dispute about how to implement the terms of such an agreement. A party who entered into an agreement to resolve a future child-related dispute by… MORE >
“My daughter is getting married. Does she need a premarital agreement?”
Estate planning attorneys hear this question more and more frequently – generally from clients concerned about the assets they plan to leave their children. Numerous wealth transfer predictions estimate that trillions of dollars will pass over the next decade from a generation that earned the money to their children who did not earn it. Parents (and grandparents) may want to assure that the inheritance the child receives, whether cash, real estate, a stock portfolio or an interest in a family business, will be stewarded carefully. Parents usually hope that the inherited assets will ultimately pass at the child’s death to the child’s children or grandchildren rather than to a child’s surviving spouse, however… MORE >
Best Lawyers named partner Nancy Fax the Trust and Estates Lawyer of the Year in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Because the publication uses peer nominations to develop its selective list, we are especially proud of this recognition. Congratulations, Nancy!
Additional Pasternak & Fidis attorneys were recognized as best lawyers in Maryland in their respective fields:
For several years running, Pasternak & Fidis has contributed to A Wider Circle’s annual gala event, the Community Ball. Along with their spouses and partners, Alex Tanouye, Stephanie Perry and Nancy Fax attended the ball this year to show their support for the organization and its persistent efforts to eliminate poverty in the Washington Metro region. Alex, a member of AWC’s board, and his wife Daphne are pictured below with AWC’s founder, Mark Bergel. Learn more about the organization here.
Pasternak & Fidis, PC was recently listed in the latest Chambers & Partners High Net Worth publication as a leading firm in the field of Private Wealth in Washington, DC. Anne Coventry and Nancy Fax were singled out as “Notable Practitioners.”
The Treasury Department recently issued proposed federal regulations that could have a dramatic impact on your estate planning options by eliminating valuation discounts. For wealthy people looking to minimize their future estate tax, this development is critical.
Time is of the essence. Once the proposed regulations are effective, which could be as early as year-end 2016, the ability to claim valuation discounts might be substantially reduced or eliminated, thus curtailing your estate tax planning flexibility.
Here is a simple illustration of how valuation discounts have historically reduced estate tax. Henry, a Maryland resident, has a $20M estate, which includes a $10M family business. He gives (or sells) 40% of the business to a trust for the benefit of his family to allow the expected post-transfer… MORE >