Author Archives: Andy O'Donnell

About Andy O'Donnell

Andy is a partner of the firm, practicing in the areas of tax law and estate and business planning. He is the former chair of the Trusts and Estates Group, and he currently serves as a member of the Management Committee.

Is an Increased Massachusetts Estate Tax Exemption in the Cards?

Massachusetts remains in the minority of states that have not increased their estate tax exemption since the federal estate tax exemption was raised in 2001. The Massachusetts estate tax exemption is currently $1,000,000 per person (though it disappears if you … Continue reading

Posted in Estate Taxes

Valuation Discounts for Family Businesses Under Attack

This past summer, the Treasury Department issued a controversial set of proposed regulations designed to prevent the long-standing practice of discounting the value of interests in family businesses given to other family members. The regulations have received significant criticism from … Continue reading

Posted in Family Businesses

Should You Share Your Estate Planning Decisions With Your Children?

You have just finished signing your new estate planning documents. Should you inform your children about your decisions, or better yet, give them copies of your documents? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and lots of … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

New IRA Rollover Rules to Take Effect in 2015

A recent Tax Court decision will require the IRS to change its taxpayer-friendly interpretation of the rules that govern IRA rollovers. If you withdraw funds from an IRA and roll them over into the same or a different IRA within … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , ,

Balancing the Needs of the Spouse and Children Using Disclaimers

The conclusion of my previous post alluded to an estate planning strategy that tries to balance the needs of the surviving spouse and children as trust beneficiaries by taking advantage of the surviving spouse’s disclaimer rights. This post will discuss … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Tried and True Trust Provisions May Not Always Be The Best Fit

Old habits die hard but recently I have found myself re-thinking some of the basic tenets of tried and true estate tax planning involving revocable trusts. This article discusses one such tenet, with others to follow in subsequent posts. Trusts … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Last Call for IRA Charitable Contributions?

This gallery contains 1 photo.

In 2006, Congress added a new provision to the tax laws that allowed taxpayers to make contributions to charitable organizations directly from their IRA accounts without having to report the contribution as income and without regard to the restrictions that … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , ,

Transfers With Retained Life Estates: Estate Tax Consequences

This gallery contains 1 photo.

A recent Tax Court case is a useful reminder about the estate tax treatment of life estates.  The tax rule involved has been in place for decades:  if you give away an asset but retain the use of the asset … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged , , , ,

Pay on Death Accounts: Proceed with Caution

This gallery contains 1 photo.

For the past fourteen years, Massachusetts has allowed owners of brokerage accounts and stocks and bonds to add a “pay on death” (POD) or “transfer on death” (TOD) beneficiary designation to their accounts and securities.  The POD beneficiary designation causes the … Continue reading

Gallery | Tagged ,

Equal vs. Fair: Which Choice is Best for Your Children? Part II

In my previous blog, I discussed a situation I frequently encounter: the struggle many parents face trying to balance their desire to treat their children both equally and in the same manner with the recognition that this approach may not … Continue reading

Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts