Publications and News

Miss the Portability Election Deadline for a Deceased Spouse’s Estate Tax Exemption? You May be in Luck!

Many with estate planning experience are aware of value of estate tax exemption portability. Since 2011, surviving spouses of deceased individuals who claimed less than the maximum estate tax exemption (currently set at $5.49 million and indexed for inflation) have been eligible to elect to “port” the remaining balance of their spouse’s exemption to themselves, for their own estates or even for gifts during life. However, electing to transfer this exemption has been somewha...

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New Real Estate Laws Affecting Titling of Properties

I have had many small business owners come to me seeking advice on how to transfer title to property owned in their individual name into a limited liability company. Current law in Maryland and the District of Columbia already allows partners in a general partnership to transfer property held in their individual names to a limited liability company in which they are the sole members, tax-free. However, currently in those two jurisdictions, the same exemption does not apply when a sole propri...

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LLC Partner Stalemate and “Getting Divorced” Threats – Demands and the Unsavory Results

Alfie and Bruce went to college together and graduated in business management. Believing they could make it on their own they formed an LLC to create a hip clothing store, each owning and managing the store 50/50. As is typical, Alfie and Bruce being best of friends and not wanting to hire an attorney, either did not have a partnership agreement (operating agreement) or used a template off of the internet. As oftentimes occurs, things started off well — but after a year Alfie and Bruce wer...

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CAM Charges in Leases – Don’t Get Ripped Off!

Most commercial leases are triple net leases whereby tenants are expected to pay for real estate taxes, building insurance and common area and maintenance (CAM) expenses in addition to rent and utilities. CAM charges should be carefully negotiated and delineated in the lease. A landlord will usually try to draft a lease to allow for the immediate pass-through of all costs incurred in its ownership of the property. CAM clauses in leases have become so broad that CAM charges can ap...

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DC Paid Leave Act Now in Effect

The District of Columbia City Council recently passed the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 (Bill 21-415) (“Bill”). The Mayor did not veto the Bill allowing it to become law unless overturned by both Houses of the Congress within 30 legislative days which either is in session. The Bill provides a mandatory paid leave system for anyone who is employed in the District of Columbia. The Bill requires employers to provide paid leave when an employee: Has a newborn child (2 months...

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Limiting Employer Liability: The DC Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014

This past DC Council Session, the Council passed The Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 (“Act”); following the Congressional review period, the Act became effective last year. The Act amended several DC wage and hour laws, greatly increased employer obligations and expanded the potential for employer liability.1 Accordingly, employers must review this article to learn how to mitigate liability under this new law. Generally, the Act requires employers to document pay for al...

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Paid Sick and Safe Leave Now Required In Montgomery County, MD

If you are a business owner in Montgomery County, MD and have more than one employee who works in the County, you must provide your employee(s) with paid sick and safe leave unless: the employee does not have a regular work schedule, contacts the employer for work assignments and schedules work within 48 hours after contact, has no obligation to work for the employer unless he/she initiates the contact AND is not employed by a temporary placement agency; the employee regularly works less than ni...

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Navigating DC’S “CBE” Preference Program for Contractors

Establishing a successful small business in today’s economy can be a challenge. The District of Columbia offers a program that can be a boon to any small business wishing to secure work with District agencies: the Certified Business Enterprise (“CBE”) program. The CBE program’s history dates back to the mid-1970’s and is now monitored by the District of Columbia Department of Small and Local Business Development (“DSLBD”). Businesses which qualify as CBEs are awarded “preference ...

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The New Maryland Trust Act Allows Spouses To Protect Marital Assets From Creditors After Death While Still Avoiding The Estate Tax.

Only married couples may own property jointly as tenants by the entireties. Whenever possible, it is advisable for them to do so. This is because this form of ownership gives each spouse full rights to the property, including the right of survivorship, but does not allow creditors to seize the property if the property is used as collateral for a loan and the spouse who put up the property as collateral dies without paying off the loan. Traditionally, one drawback to this estate-planning appr...

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