Wiggin and Dana Secures Major Surrogate’s Court Victory in NY Estate Tax Case

October 26, 2018 Press Release

Wiggin and Dana has secured a victory in the matter of the Estate of Evelyn Seiden, resulting in the refund of approximately half a million dollars of New York Estate taxes imposed on the QTIP trust that was established by her husband’s will following his death in 2010. In a case of first impression brought before the New York Surrogate’s Court, Surrogate Rita Mella ordered the refund and vacated a New York State Notice of Deficiency imposed against the estate.

Appearing before the Surrogate’s Court were partners Robert Benjamin and Helen Heintz, who argued that due to a one-year federal estate tax repeal in 2010, the QTIP trust was not includable in either Seiden’s federal gross estate, or by a close reading of the applicable tax laws, in her New York gross estate. By successfully dissecting the interplay between state and federal tax law, the team achieved a favorable ruling that could have implications for all other QTIPs created in the state during 2010, regardless of size.

“We are pleased that the Surrogate agreed with our client’s position that the courts must apply the laws as written,” stated Robert Benjamin, echoing the judge’s sentiments that “both Seiden estates followed the law that was in effect at the time.”