The Origin of Spendthrift Clauses in Estate Planning
It has been an active term for the U.S. Supreme Court. Which prompted me to ask: What is the most important Supreme Court decision affecting the field of estate planning?
Few estate planning cases actually make it to the Supreme Court, because the laws governing private property transfers between citizens are overwhelmingly found in state statutes, not federal statutes. There have been a spate of important cases recently, including the 2013 case striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman for federal law purposes (U.S. v. Windsor); a 2014 case finding that creditor protections for retirement assets apply to the original contributor of the plan only, not subsequent beneficiaries who inherited the plan (Clark v. Rameker); and a 2019 case disallowing a state from taxing a trust when the trust’s connection to the state was tenuous (North Carolina v. Kaestner).
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