On March 29, 2021, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) released a discussion draft of the Sensible Taxation and Equity Promotion (“STEP”) Act. According to press reports, the proposal is supported by fellow Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Cory Booker (NJ).
Senator Bernie Sanders, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, have introduced legislation that affects the federal estate and gift tax.
As a consequence of the results in the U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia, the Democrats are, at least in theory, in a position to pass legislation via the “reconciliation process.” Under reconciliation, 51 votes are all that is needed to pass tax legislation, such as Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Relief of 2001 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Governor Cuomo has signed legislation that will significantly change New York legislation regarding powers of attorney. The legislation, Chapter 323 of the 2020 Session Laws, will be effective 180 days from yesterday, December 15. The signing was accompanied by an agreement to amend the legislation (principally, to require that two disinterested witnesses sign the power in addition to the notarization). It is anticipated that the amendment will be enacted prior to the effective date of Chapter 323.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, questions have arisen regarding how people can safely execute Wills and other documents that require witnesses. Yesterday, by Executive Order 202.14, Governor Cuomo expressly authorized Wills, Trusts, Health Care Proxies, and Statutory Gifts Riders for Powers of Attorney to be witnessed remotely by virtual means. The Executive Order is in effect until May 7, 2020. Before this Executive Order, New York generally did not allow remote witnessing.