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How have changes in federal laws affected wetland development?

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Act expanded the protections available for waterways under the Clean Water Act. This law made it more difficult to develop land. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the WOTUS rule.

Two years have passed since the order was executed. The government is now analyzing data gathered on the impact of this order.

The Federal Gift, Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer Taxes

Federal Gift, Estate and Generation Skipping taxes have long been subject to a unified exemption. Transfers are cumulative. A gift tax return must be filed reporting the cumulative transfers and exemption consumed from prior and the current year returns. Tax is imposed on the amount which exceeds the exemption. There are exceptions, such as the annual gift tax exclusion (presently $15,000), but that's the gist of it.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017 doubled this exemption. In 2019, the exemption is $11,400,000 and will adjust upward each year for inflation. However, the Tax Act also provides that the doubled exemption is temporary and will return to prior levels on January 26, 2026 (to the 2017 exemption level of $5,430,000, adjusted for inflation since then).

Buyers beware: what to know about FSBO transactions

Homes for sale by owner ("FSBO") transactions are growing in popularity due to the recovery of the housing market. To avoid the cost of paying a commission, many homeowners attempt to sell their properties without help from a real estate agent.

As a buyer, it is crucial to comprehend the process on the path to the purchase of a home, particularly in a FSBO transaction.

Considering an Acquisition in 2019? Three Due Diligence Tips.

Business growth can occur in many different ways. Those who are considering a merger or acquisition to jump-start their growth in 2019 can benefit from the following tips.

Why business owners may consider a merger or acquisition: Acquiring or merging with another business can allow a business to grow into a new market or take advantage of a different set of clientele. Whatever the reason for the merger, it is important to complete thorough due diligence before finalizing the transaction.

Trusts help create better estate plans

Dealing with end-of-life matters can be a tricky subject for some people. You may feel uncomfortable thinking about your later years and eventual death, or perhaps you have particularly complex assets that feel too overwhelming to include in an estate plan. With the right help, you can overcome these concerns to establish necessary trusts and create the most comprehensive and effective estate plan possible. 

Trusts often play a vital role in complex Connecticut estates. These versatile planning tools can help minimize the taxes your estate is subjected to, including estate and gift taxes. This is a common approach for preserving family wealth that might otherwise be eaten up by court fees and hefty estate taxes. Careful use can also ensure that certain assets avoid probate and instead pass directly to the heir as the decedent intended. 

Don't deal with important real estate law decisions alone

Real estate is one of the biggest investments your business will make. Unfortunately, Connecticut real estate law can be incredibly complicated, and making the wrong decision can have a profoundly negative impact on your future operations. In all matters of real estate -- including both purchasing and leasing -- it is usually a good idea to consult with an attorney who has experience on the matter. 

Businesses have highly specialized real estate needs, so there is usually not a one-size-fits-all approach to these types of transactions. What works for one business in its acquisition of a new office space will not work for another's residential purchase. Common transactions businesses might be familiar with include: 

  • Leasing of retail or office space 
  • Commercial property sales or purchases 
  • Raw land sales or purchases 

SCOTUS to review state taxation of trust income

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has agreed to hear a case that questions the ability of a state to tax trust income when the trust is located in another state.

The case begins with a father who created a trust in New York to guide the transfer of his estate to his three children. In 2002, the trustee divided the trust into three separate trust accounts. One of the beneficiaries had her trust managed in Connecticut while she lived in North Carolina. Based solely on this beneficiary’s residence, North Carolina’s Department of Revenue taxed the trust.

Business succession planning: A few things to think about to get you started.

If you are like a lot of business owners, you have put in countless hours over a number of years to build your business into the enterprise it is today.  You've put in way too much time and effort to let your business wither or fall into the wrong hands when you retire or die.  You want it to continue to provide the service or product it now provides and to employ the people who have worked alongside you to build and manage it.  You also want its value to be there for your heirs.

Savvy and concerned business owners take steps to prepare for succession--that is who will own and run their business when they have retired or died. They develop a business succession plan with a transparent process for choosing a successor to run the business as well as a written governance plan for the business. In addition to governance, these business owners know the plan should also discuss ownership of the business and the tax implications of any transfer of that ownership.

Land use litigation: Three hurdles to settlement

It is not uncommon for disputes over land use laws to end up seeking resolution through traditional litigation. There are many hurdles that can make negotiating a settlement in these cases difficult.

Three hurdles that often keep the parties from reaching a settlement agreement for land use and planning disputes in Connecticut include:

What to include in an operating agreement for your LLC

Creating an operating agreement helps you and your partners establish the operating rules for your business. It also can prevent future arguments and protect your business interests. This is particularly important in Connecticut because of the new Connecticut Uniform Limited Liability Company Act (CULLCA).

The CULLCA is used to govern LLCs when holes exist in operating agreements. For example, if an operating agreement does not specify otherwise, the CULLCA states any changes to the operating agreement must be approved unanimously. Unanimous agreement can be tough to reach. The act also stipulates to add a new member to an LLC, there must be complete agreement among all the LLC members. The exception, of course, is if your operating agreement states agreement does not have to be unanimous. Here are some things you should consider including in your LLC’s operating agreement.

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