Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Trusts and Estates

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Fall 2014 Newsletter

Newsletter - Trusts and Estates

Volume 22, No. 11

Message from the Chair
C. Arthur Robinson, II, Chair
Trusts and Estates Section

On behalf of the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar Trusts and Estates Section, I am delighted to introduce the Fall 2014 issue of our newsletter. In this issue, Stephan J. Lipskis reviews the many pitfalls and permutations of reporting foreign bank accounts and the consequences of our clients’ failure to report these accounts as has been required by law for many years. The article explores the alternatives to the extremely draconian regime currently imposed on the failure to report foreign bank accounts and details the available alternatives to taxpayers who have failed to report such accounts in the past. The article provides a good picture of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program as well as several alternate procedures available to assist clients in getting into compliance with the foreign bank account reporting regime and paying reduced penalties as a result.

Jennifer L. Tomac and Jerad R. Tomac address the use of alternative dispute resolution in estate planning and administration. The article points out that family members are very often driven by painful and unresolved family issues and therefore, decision-making is often emotional rather than rational, and discusses the opportunity to use alternative dispute resolution in order to come to terms with these issues. The article describes in detail the alternative dispute solution process in Virginia and gives a detailed explanation of how the process can apply, especially in the context of estates and trusts.

The article by James A. Gillis discusses the portability election, available since January 1, 2011, which allows the surviving spouse to claim the deceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount under certain circumstances. The article details the potential savings to be generated by a portability election and provides guidance when making the election which involves filing Form 706 even in the case where the estate tax return would not otherwise be required to be filed. The article also details the ins and outs of the availability of the election and the parameters to be used in making decisions concerning its use.

We thank our newsletter editor, C. Daniel Vaughan, and our assistant newsletter editor, Lauren A. Jenkins, for their work in producing this Fall 2014 newsletter. Later this year, we will also be producing for all the members of our bar, a dedicated issue of the Virginia Lawyer which will explore Trusts and Estates topics. I commend to your attention the upcoming dedicated issue.

Please visit our website at for additional information. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Board of Governors with any ideas or input on the section’s activities and how we may make the section of greater utility and service to our members.

Fall 2014 Newsletter (.pdf)

The Trusts and Estates Newsletter is published by the Virginia State Bar Section on Trusts and Estates for its members to provide information to attorneys practicing in these areas. Statements, expressions of opinion, or comments appearing herein are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Virginia State Bar or the Section on Trusts and Estates.