Joseph Bierwirth Comments on SJC Decision in Shaffer and the Exclusion of Non-Massachusetts Real Estate in Estate Tax Returns

July 27, 2020

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled in Shaffer v. Commissioner of Revenue that intangible assets in an out-of-state Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust are subject to Massachusetts estate tax when the surviving spouse is domiciled in the commonwealth at the time of their death.

Joe told MLW that the case is noteworthy, in addition to its primary holding on the QTIP issue, in that it reiterates that a state cannot tax real estate located outside its boundaries, a principle originally stated in the Probate & Family Court’s 2016 Dassori v. Commissioner decision. “As a result, the prevailing understanding among practitioners that an estate of a Massachusetts decedent need not include non-Massachusetts real estate on a Massachusetts estate tax return is not undermined by this decision,” said Bierwirth, the estate’s counsel in Dassori.

In Dassori v. Commissioner of Revenue, Joe achieved a precedent setting victory for his client in a matter where the court declared the Massachusetts estate tax to be unconstitutional as applied to real estate located in Paris, France.

To read the full article, please click here: ‘QTIP’ from N.Y. subject to Mass. estate tax