Dawn S. Markowitz

S. Markowitz
Legal Editor,
Trusts & Estates

Dawn S. Markowitz is a legal editor at Trusts & Estates magazine. Prior to working at T&E, she was a legal editor at The National Law Journal and at the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. She was formerly a commercial litigator at Shea & Gould and Ashinoff, Ross & Korff, both in New York. She is licensed to practice law in New York.

We Beg to Differ
Avi Kestenbaum and Michael Jones offer some strong opinions about the first day of the Heckerling conference
Tax Court’s Valuation is “Clear Error”
In Estate of Natale B. Giustina v. Commissioner, (Dec. 5, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the Tax Court’s determination of a partnership’s value as a going concern.
Trust Consolidation
In PLR 201448018 (released Nov. 28, 2014), the IRS ruled that a merger of two identical trusts wouldn’t cause any distributions from the original trust into the surviving trust to be subject to generation-skipping transfer tax, so long as there weren’t any post-merger additions to the surviving trust.
Fraudulent Conveyance Claim Upheld
In United States v. Nassar, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that the government adequately plead the defendant’s general intent to defraud his creditors.
Testamentary Power of Appointment
In PLR 201444003 (released Oct. 31, 2014), the IRS determined that a testamentary power of appointment (POA) didn’t constitute a general POA under Internal Revenue Code Section 2041.
State Court Trust Reformation
In a recent Private Letter Ruling, the IRS ruled that a reformation of a trust to correct scrivener’s errors caused remainder interests to be completed gifts and as such, a trust’s assets wouldn’t be included in a grantor’s gross estate on his death.
Wealth Advisors with Heart: Eido Walny
Despite his extremely busy practice at the Walny Legal Group LLC—the boutique firm he founded in 2011—Eido Walny dedicates a portion of his pro bono time to helping Holocaust survivors and the families of those who didn’t survive.
Wealth Advisors with Heart: Shane Phillips
In 1989, 16-year-old Shane Phillips was in Corsica, France, about to embark on an exciting year abroad when his father, mother and sister died in a plane crash. Beyond the emotional devastation Shane endured, he was faced with another obstacle: His parents had done no financial planning.
Wealth Advisors with Heart: Robert Pagliarini
Robert Pagliarini co-founded The Band of Brothers, a charitable organization focused on improving the quality of life in Southeast Asia.
Wealth Advisors with Heart: Layton John 
Traumatic brain injuries—also known as “TBIs”—have received a lot of press in the context of football injuries. But for Layton John, they hit home in 1999.
Wealth Advisors with Heart: James G. Blase 
What differentiates JIm Blase, the principal of Blase & Associates LLC, adjunct professor at the St. Louis School of Law and prolific author from other estate-planning practitioners, is his commitment to making sure people have food on their tables.
Contributions to IRAs and CESAs
In this PLR, the IRS ruled that a taxpayer who submits a letter of authorization (LOA) to make a contribution to an existing IRA or CESA is deemed to have made a contribution on the last day of the preceding taxable year, so long as the LOA is postmarked or transmitted within the time prescribed by law for filing the taxpayer’s tax return.
Donating LLC Interests to an Irrevocable Trust
Does a proposed donation of limited liability company membership interests in a decedent’s estate to an irrevocable trust constitute self-dealing?
Charitable Deductions, Disqualified Persons and the Excess Business Holdings Tax
The IRS ruled that a surviving spouse’s estate could claim a charitable deduction for assets passing to three charitable lead annuity trusts. The CLATs, created under the surviving spouse’s revocable trust, included assets passing from a marital trust created under a revocable trust of the predeceased spouse.
Family Trust Assets
In a recent Private Letter Ruling, the Internal Revenue Service concluded that the value of assets held in a family trust aren’t includible in a decedent’s gross estate, except for the value of a “5 or 5” power held by a decedent at his death.
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