Catching up on the latest trust and estate sector news on the go? Welcome to the wrap-up of the top ten most popular stories in the STEP North America and LATAM News Digests throughout July. In case you missed them, here are the top STEP LATAM and North America News Digest stories most clicked by our readers.
Robin Williams’ estate plan could give his heirs some consolation: As the world mourns the tragic death of actor Robin Williams, it appears as if the family he left behind can focus on grieving without having to worry about what happens to the estate. Media reports suggest the wealthy entertainer took care of his family with solid estate plans, including at least one revocable trust for the primary portion of his estate planning. This will avoid some of the complications and tax liabilities other celebrities’ families have had to endure.
Opposition candidate considers wealth tax: Large fortunes may face a wealth tax in Brazil if presidential candidate Aecio Neves wins the next election this coming autumn. He explained earlier this month that a tax on super wealth was on his agenda, and he would be discussing the idea with his economic advisors. The tax, versions of which have been proposed in the past in Brazil but never approved into law, is part of a broader plan to modernise and simplify Brazil’s complex taxation system.
Crociani v Crociani: On 7 April 2014, the Jersey Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in the case of Crociani v Crociani  JCA 089. In a landmark ruling that will have far-reaching implications for contentious and non-contentious trust lawyers in both the onshore and offshore worlds, the Court of Appeal has clarified what is meant by ‘exclusive jurisdiction’ and ‘forum for administration’ in trust deeds, and in doing so overruled its previous decision in the 2002 case of Koonmen v Bender  JCA 218.
US LLLPs not always advisable for cross-border investment: The limited liability limited partnership (LLLP) is a relatively new modification of the limited partnership, a form of business entity recognized under US commercial law. Some Canadian advisors have recommended that Canadians use US LLLPs to invest in US commercial property or businesses. But how does the Canada Revenue Agency view a US LLLP?
Michelle Bachelet faces challenges implementing tax reforms: Chile’s president Michelle Bachelet is facing serious political challenges following the announcement of a series of changes to her high-profile tax reform proposal. The updated legislation dramatically waters down the proposed changes to the country’s corporate tax structure, and the promised new powers to enable Chile’s tax collection agency to crackdown on tax evasion have now been omitted.
Banks will be forced to conduct beneficial ownership checks: The US Treasury has proposed a new regulation requiring banks and other financial institutions to identify and verify the beneficial owners of corporate bank accounts. The main purpose, it says, is to comply with the US government’s reciprocal obligations to other countries under FATCA intergovernmental agreements.
Artist’s trustees earn millions in fees: A US court has ordered the Rauschenberg Foundation to pay three of its trustees a total of USD24.6 million for the “extraordinary services” they rendered. The trustees originally charged the artistic foundation more than USD50 million in “reasonable compensation” for their success in increasing the value of the estate, while the foundation had offered to pay them USD375,000.
More Americans give back US passports before FATCA starts: A record number of 1,577 Americans have renounced their US citizenship in the first half of 2014, just before FATCA came into effect on July 1. That’s already more than half of the 2,999 expatriations registered in 2013. The passports or green cards have been returned in a bid to avoid unwanted US tax reporting obligations as the US Treasury and the IRS ramp up their efforts to trace undeclared assets and earnings abroad. Under the US ‘worldwide’ tax code, all of an individual’s income is subject to US taxation.
Fully compliant with OECD tax standards: Mexico has been found ‘compliant’ in a new batch of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Phase Two Peer Review reports and compliance ratings. The Global Forum reviewed exchange of information practices in ten jurisdictions, with Mexico the only state found fully compliant. The positive assessment has led some experts to praise the effort of new president Enrique Peña Nieto, who was elected in late 2012.
US tax agency is collecting dual citizens’ passport information: Dual US-Canadian citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to enter the USA on their Canadian passport, and are now being told that they will need to apply for or renew their US passports. The US Immigration Service will then pass on their names and addresses, US tax identification numbers and date of birth to the Internal Revenue Service for enforcement purposes.
The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. The News Digests also feature job listings from our recruitment site and list local STEP branch events and conferences. STEP’s digest services include twice weekly UK and Wealth Structuring (international) editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Digest.
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