Recent Articles



April 2021

Proposed Estate Tax Changes – Firm Newsletter March 2021On March 25, 2021, Senators Sanders and Whitehouse proposed a bill in the Senate which would make dramatic changes to the current estate and gift tax system. It is anticipated that a companion bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives


March 2021

Divorce and Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic By Jeffrey A. Baskies, Esq. and Brooke R. Eisensmith, Esq.For some couples, quarantining with their spouse has been a blessing in disguise – a chance to deepen their bond and strengthen their relationship as a couple, and a chance to spend time with their children as a family. For others, quarantining with a spouse has undoubtedly caused new pressures and revealed marital issues that may not have otherwise been uncovered or dealt with for some time.


February 2021

Recent Decision In Warner v. Quicken Loans, Inc. Provides That Certain Third Parties Have Standing To Challenge Invalid Homestead Orders” by Jeffrey A. Baskies, Esq. and Allison S. Neumann, Esq.Practitioners who represent third parties and wish to challenge the jurisdiction of the probate court as it relates to an invalid homestead order after the probate proceedings have concluded often find themselves prevented from mounting a successful challenge due to the third party’s lack of standing. However, the recent holding in Warner v. Quicken Loans, Inc. now provides such practitioners with a road map for successfully challenging an invalid homestead order – at least as it relates to a property held as tenants by the entireties.


September 2020

The Time Has Come to Implement Painless Giving: How to Gift One or More Residences Prior to the End of the Year Without “Feeling It”With only a few months left before the Election and a possible reduction in the $11.58 million federal gift, estate and GST tax exemptions in 2021, the time has come for clients to get serious about using their exemptions.


August 2020

Some “Dos” and “Don’ts” If You are Planning with Your Clients' Florida Homesteads in 2020

The current $11.58 million gift tax exemption is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2025, but clients are concerned the November election could lead to changes much sooner.


May 2019

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Waiver of Spousal Homestead Devise Restriction by DeedA new Florida Statute made it easier to waive the Florida Homestead devise restrictions by joining in a deed; however, caution is warned as valuable rights may be lost and unintended consequences may ensue.


Homestead Planning Under Florida's New "Safe Harbor" StatuteF.S. §732.702 provides a statutory procedure for waiving spousal rights, including homestead rights, under written contracts, agreements, or waivers. New F.S. §732.7025 provides a simplified method for a spouse to waive his or her homestead rights in a deed. It is intended to provide a "safe harbor" for the waiver of spousal homestead rights through a deed (with specially drafted language included in the deed).


February 2019

Jeff Baskies - The Scottie Pippen Case is a Good Reminder that Florida Property Appraisers Enforce Homestead Laws, and There are Complex Issues with Trying to Own a Florida Homestead AnonymouslyIn December, Scottie Pippen (as Trustee of his revocable trust- as landlord) sued the renters of his Florida mansion alleging over $100,000 in damages. The complaint was e-filed on December 3, 2018 and is available online.


April 2018

Possible Estate Planning Strategies Arising From The Tax Cuts and Jobs ActThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed Into law on December 22,2017, and effective as of January 1,2018, increased the lifetime gift tax exemption from $S million ($5,490,000 for 2017 as adjusted for inflation) to $10 million ($11,180,000 for 2018 as adjusted for inflation). This increase presents planners and their clients with a tremendous opportunity to transfer more wealth without paying any federal transfer tax. For some clients, the tax changes will allow them to transfer additional sums to already existing irrevocable trusts, or to reduce any outstanding debts by reducing or eliminating existing promissory notes. Other clients may terminate QTIP trusts or use their exemptions on new planning strategies altogether.


September 2017

Jeff Baskies on Ramos v. Motamed: Gym Records Blow Up Bogus Asset Protection Plan in a Novel Florida Homestead Exemption Case - Bad Facts Case Provides a Good Reminder that Effectively Changing Domicile Is Not a GameIn a novel Florida homestead case, a debtor’s claim to a homestead exemption (from his creditors’ claims) was denied when the evidence in trial (including his gym records) belied his claim of being a Florida resident.