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Natalie Choate quoted in “Saying ‘No Thanks’ to a Bequest”

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The New York Times

Natalie Choate, a member of the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group, was quoted in “Saying ‘No Thanks’ to a Bequest” in the The New York Times on February 18. With the estate tax in flux, the article discusses how many individuals are turning to a process called disclaiming where the individual is treated as if they had died before the person from whom they are inheriting. This process often provides needed flexibility and allows the assets to go to the individual or trust next in line under the estate plan.

Natalie points out that retirement assets are different because they are not covered by a will, but by the beneficiary designation form submitted to the financial institution that holds them. “So if you want your heirs to have the option of disclaiming them, you must spell it out on that form,” said Natalie. “Unless you use this form to direct that a spouse can disclaim her interest and have it go to a family trust, she will not have this flexibility,” Natalie said. “Just be warned that when a spouse disclaims into a family trust, certain income tax benefits will be lost,” Natalie added.

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