Description: cid:image001.png@01CC88CE.57560F00

You're receiving this newsletter as a member of the MSBA Probate & Trust Law Section.
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.

Probate and Trust Section E- Newsletter

October 2013



Hello from the Chair Scott M. Nelson

Welcome to the 2013-2014 fiscal year for the State Bar Association.  The Probate and Trust Law Section Council has many activities planned for this fiscal year, and we hope that you will be able to take advantage of many of these opportunities. 

Our first luncheon CLE was on October 4th featuring changes to the financial power of attorney, and we will have another luncheon seminar on November 18th featuring a panel of trust and estate litigators covering recent developments in our area.  Look for additional luncheon CLE’s in early 2014.  Our Greater Minnesota Involvement Committee chaired by JoEllen Doebbert features monthly conference calls for our outstate members during which practice developments and challenges are discussed.  The next telephone conference is October 16th. You can find the dial information listed in the “Upcoming Events and CLE Programs” section below.

We have a great group of people serving on the Probate and Trust Law Section Council and various committees – both new and returning members. Cameron Seybolt has agreed to become chair of our Education Committee, and Drew Baese and Michael Sampson will continue as legislation chairs.  The Legislation Committee always has several sub-committees focusing on specific legislative proposals, and it provides an excellent opportunity for direct participation in our section’s activities.  You will see other activities of our section featured in the newsletter, which we plan to publish more frequently during the upcoming fiscal year.  Thank you to David Joyslin and Jennifer Santini for taking the lead in this ambitious project. 

Best wishes to all practitioners in a constantly challenging and interesting practice environment.


Wills for Heroes

As of September 30, 2013, Wills For Heroes has prepared 8,090 estate plans for Minnesota First Responders and their families.  The following clinics are still in need of volunteers:

  • October 14, 2013 - Stewartville Fire Department
    • 4 attorneys needed
  • November 4, 2013 - Jordan Fire Department
    • 8 attorneys needed
    • 4 data entry volunteers needed
  • November 18, 2013 - Lakeville Police Department
    • 1 attorney needed
  • November 25, 2013 - Litchfield Fire and Police
    • 5 attorneys needed
  • December 2, 2013 - Dakota County Sheriff’s Office - Hastings, MN
    • 6 attorneys needed
    • 1 data entry volunteer needed

For those interested in volunteering, please contact Andrea Bischoff ( or Susan Link ( or visit


Upcoming Events and CLE Programs

  • Greater MN Probate & Trust Study Group Conference Call
    • Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 9 a.m. 
    • Call-in Number: (800) 406-9170 passcode: 1491722
    • Contact either Bradley Hanson (320-251-1414 ext. 1119) or JoEllen Doebbert (320-763-7838) with any questions or to join the group.
  • MSBA Probate & Trust Law Section Monthly Meeting
    • Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
    • Location: MSBA Offices
    • Call-in Number: (800) 406-9170 passcode: 1491722
  • CLE: Highlights from 2013 Probate & Trust Law Conference – Video Replay
  • CLE: 2013 Elder Law Institute
    • Wednesday, October 30, 2013 – Thursday, October 31, 2013
    • Minnesota CLE
  • CLE: Probate & Trust Law Section Luncheon on changes in trust and estate litigation
    • Monday, November 18, 2013 – More details to follow


Federal & Minnesota State Tax Update

United States v. Windsor

On June 26, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. __ (2013), a federal estate tax refund case.  In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined the term “marriage” for all purposes under federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” was unconstitutional. 

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, the IRS adopted a “state of celebration” rule in Revenue Ruling 2013-27.  In Rev. Rul. 2013-17, the IRS ruled that same-sex couples legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages (i.e. “state of celebration”), will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes the same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.  The ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

The IRS provides guidance for same-sex couples planning to amend prior returns in I.R.S. News Release IR-2013-72.  In Notice IR-2013-72, the IRS provides that individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.  In general, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later.  As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012.  Notably, Notice IR-2013-72 did not address whether the unconstitutionality would allow individuals who were in same-sex marriages to file amended returns for tax years that are not still open under the statute of limitations.

Other Tax Cases In The News.

  1. Failure to File Gift Tax Return – Statute of LimitationsBillionaire Sumner Redstone may face a gift tax deficiency of over a million dollars.  The IRS claims that in 1972, Mr. Redstone made taxable gifts of family stock to trusts for his children and failed to file a gift tax return.  In general, the IRS is bound by a three-year statute of limitations period; however, the statute of limitations does not apply in cases where no return is filed.  Mr. Redstone has appealed the IRS deficiency claiming the transfers were not gifts.  Redstone v. Commissioner, T.C. No. 008097-13.
  1. Valuation of Estate Assets.  The estate of Michael Jackson filed a petition July 26, 2013 challenging estate tax deficiencies and penalties in excess of $702 million.  The IRS claims that the estate significantly undervalued real and intangible property, including the value of Jackson’s “image and likeness.” Estate of Jackson v. Commissioner, T.C. No. 17152-13.

Joe Higgins is an associate at Briggs and Morgan, P.A.  Joe is based in the firm’s St. Paul office and is a member of the Estate Planning and Administration Section where he focuses his practice in estate planning, trust and estate administration, and nonprofit law.  Joe is admitted to practice before Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida state courts.           



Message from the Editors

As we begin the 2013-2014 fiscal year, your editors of the Probate and Trust Section newsletter would like to extend a special invitation for you to become involved in your practice community.  For several years, the section newsletter has provided updated information to section members across Minnesota twice per fiscal year.  The newsletter contains updates on section committee activities as well as articles from practitioners willing to share his or her insights on a particular topic.   

We believe this is too valuable of a resource to be published twice per year.  Therefore, we have begun an ambitious undertaking of producing a monthly newsletter.  Several members have already volunteered to play an active role in this process; however, we are searching for more volunteers to assist in writing articles of interest to section members.  

How does this benefit you?  Well, the newsletter is sent to over 1,100 section members via e-mail every month.  In the month of September, the newsletter page of the Probate and Trust Section website received nearly 1,500 unique hits.  Perhaps most importantly, writing an article for the Probate and Trust Section newsletter improves us all as practitioners.  Please consider volunteering your time and sharing your expertise with your fellow section members through an article submission. 

We know many of you prefer to work under deadlines so you are welcome to sign-up for a particular month.  Simply contact your editors Jen Santini and/or David Joyslin for more information.  We look forward to reading your submission.

Newsletter Committee Co-Chairs: David Joyslin and Jennifer Santini

To access the PROBATE & TRUST LAW SECTION WEBSITE |Click here.

If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact David Joyslin ( or Jennifer Santini ( with your idea.

If you do not wish to receive this E-Newsletter, send your request to be removed from the mailing list to Tram Nguyen at

Current and prior E-Newsletters are posted on the website for the MSBA Probate & Trust Law Section and are available here.

Newsletter Editors:

David Joyslin

Jen Santini

If you have any questions about the publication or would like to submit an article for a future issue, please contact either David or Jen.




Find us
Minnesota State
Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall
Suite 380
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Contact us
(612) 333-1183
(800) 882-6722