Robert F. Morris

Latest Articles

On Friday, September 30, 2016, New Jersey lawmakers held a press conference announcing significant changes affecting the New Jersey Estate Tax. The video and transcript of the conference can be accessed by clicking here. The New Jersey Estate Tax applies to the estates of New Jersey residents and currently has an exemption of only $675,000. Under the proposal, the New Jersey Estate Tax exemption will be increased to $2.0 million per person on January…
If an Executor fails to properly administer an estate, it can have severe repercussions for the beneficiaries. An Executor has broad authority to control all aspects of an estate. When an Executor acts improperly, it can delay settlement of the estate and diminish the value of the estate’s assets. If you are a beneficiary of an estate that is being damaged by an Executor, you have rights and can take action to enforce the estate…
A recent Tax Court case highlights some of the issues faced by estates that own valuable artwork and the need to account for artwork as part of estate planning and estate administration. Artwork is an important aspect of estate planning and administration because artwork can affect the estate’s overall value, and can result in substantial estate or inheritance taxes. Artwork is a non-revenue producing asset that can make financing taxes more challenging, particularly when there…
If you are unavailable due to injury or illness, is there a plan in place to protect a surviving spouse or your family? Sadly, the answer to this question is often “no.” The lack of an effective estate plan can result in unnecessary delays and financial hardships for your spouse and family. Depending on the circumstances, the impact of these problems can be substantial. A recent New Jersey Appellate Division case illustrates some of the…
In Part 1 of the blog series on joint accounts we examined tax issues that can result from joint accounts. In this article we discuss conflicts between the beneficiaries on a joint account and the estate plan under a will or trust. Although this article primarily references joint accounts, these problems apply equally to Payable on Death and Transfer on Death (TOD) designations. Conflicts between a Will and a joint account (or POD or TOD…
In this blog and in an upcoming blog, I am going to cover some of the tax and allocation problems created by joint accounts. The focus of this blog is on some tax related matters involving joint accounts. Many clients believe that joint accounts make great estate planning tools. In reality, joint accounts often complicate the estate administration, cause delay, and result in unnecessary expenses. Joint accounts limit the estate’s ability to address estate taxes,…
Choosing an executor or trustee is a critical aspect of every estate plan. Executors and trustees have broad authority and are charged with gathering the decedent’s assets, discharging debts and paying taxes due on the decedent’s estate. Because the executor and trustee have broad authority, and are tasked with a variety of responsibilities and obligations, naming an executor or trustee who can handle these issues is extremely important. Failure to properly address these issues can…
Disputed estates and inheritance issues affect more and more families. The deeply personal nature of these problems adds to the confusion and uncertainty over how to address them. My partner, Paul Norris, Esq., and I recently recorded a webinar on the basic issues in probate and estate claims. You can watch a recording of the webinar below. For more information, or to speak with either of us, please call (609) 896-9060.…
I have co-authored this blog with Steven L. Friedman, Esq., a colleague of mine at Stark & Stark. While holiday parties and shopping fill your schedule, consider setting aside time to evaluate year-end tax planning. This is the season for giving, and if giving does not factor into your current tax strategy, it could be an area for improvement. Developing charitable and intra-family giving strategies is an important component of any plan, and is…
Many key Estate and Gift Tax exemptions and exclusions are indexed for inflation by the IRS. The IRS recently released Rev. Proc. 2014-61 which provides for the following modifications for these key exemptions and exclusions: Unified Credit for Estate Tax: $5,430,000 for decedents dying in 2015[1] Annual Exclusion Gifts: $14,000[2] Annual Exclusion Gifts for Non-Citizen Spouses: $147,000 for transfers in 2015 Aggregate Allowable Decrease for Special Use Property (i.e. farmland, etc.): $1,100,000 in…