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Proposed Rules Would Limit Valuation Discounts for Family Controlled Entities
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Tax
On August 2, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service proposed regulations that would severely limit valuation discounts for lack of marketability and lack of control that taxpayers have historically applied for federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes when transferring interests in family controlled entities. Taxpayers who want to take advantage of traditional discounts must do so before the proposed regulations are finalized, which may be as early as December.

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 8/10/16
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
On August 4, 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court issued its highly anticipated decision in Pfannenstiehl v. Pfannenstiehl, 2016 Mass. LEXIS 591, reversing an Appeals Court decision that had been a hot topic of discussion among many members of the family law, estate planning, and trust bars.

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 7/13/16
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
The first two weeks of July have brought us some warm weather and three new decisions worth noting.

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 7/5/16
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
Two decisions issued in June will be of interest to probate litigators and estate planning lawyers.  

Department of Labor Doubles Salary Basis Test for Overtime Exemption
Practice: Employment
In 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Labor (DOL) to update the regulations defining which workers are protected by the Fair Labor Standard Act's (FSLA) minimum wage and overtime standards. The DOL had last updated the FLSA’s overtime regulations in 2004. The 2004 update set the minimum level for those employees who were not entitled to overtime so long as they performed qualifying job duties at $455 per week. 

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 5/25/16
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
In the past month, there were three decisions of note.First, in the case of Caffrey v. U.S. Trust, Case No. 15-P-920, 2016 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 454 (Apr. 27, 2016), the Appeals Court was confronted with the question of whether an award of legal fees to a lawyer for an estate comes with prejudgment interest.  The Court’s answer was no.

Texts that Bind: Text Messages May Form Binding Real Property Contract
Practice: Real Estate, Real Estate Litigation
Massachusetts Land Court judge held that text messages exchanged between two real estate brokers may be sufficient to constitute the signing of a binding contract for the purchase of a commercial property.  

T&E Litigation Newsletter- 4/27/16
Practice: Private Client & Trust, Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
On March 25, the First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a breach of fiduciary duty case that turns, in part, on an analysis of the Supreme Judicial Court’s 2014 decision on damages in the widely-discussed matter of The Woodward School for Girls, Inc. v. City of Quincy, 469 Mass. 151 (2014).  

Boston City Council Approves Urban Renewal Plan Extensions
Practice: Development/Land Use
The Boston City Council has approved six-year extensions of most urban renewal plans, which grant the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) powers of land assembly and disposition. The BRA originally adopted 40-year plans in the 1960s and early 1970s, covering approximately 10% of Boston’s land area.  As plans began expiring in the early 2000s, the BRA successfully sought extensions of 19 of the 21 then-active plans until April 30, 2015. 

MassDEP Proposes Revisions to Facilities of Public Accommodation Regulations
Practice: Environmental, Real Estate
After a multi-year study process involving an advisory group of stakeholders, the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is proposing revisions to regulations implementing the state waterways licensing program under Chapter 91.  The revisions would provide more flexibility for property owners to fill rental space on or adjacent to tidelands by allowing for uses open to the public by appointment or enrollment.  Interested parties have until 5:00 p.m. on April 25, 2016 to submit written comments via email to dep.talks@state.ma.us.
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