Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Taxation and Gender Equality Conference: Research Roundtable and Policy Program

CLETaxation and Gender Equality Conference: Research Roundtable and Policy Program, September 14-15, 2020.

Deadline for Expressions of Interest: March 15, 2020

As the Organizers and members of the Academic Advisory Committee we are pleased to issue this Announcement and Call for Contributions to an event that will be held on September 14 and 15, 2020, in Washington, DC, to explore the interaction between tax law and gender equality. The goal of the Conference, which is sponsored by the Tax Policy Center, the American Tax Policy Institute, the American Bar Foundation, and, subject to the final approval of their boards, the Tax Section of the American Bar Association and the American College of Tax Counsel, is to shine a spotlight on gender issues in taxation and to bring consideration of gender impacts into mainstream discussions surrounding the enactment and administration of tax laws. The intended scope of the Conference is broad, focusing not only on gender issues in U.S. tax law but also on gender issues in the tax laws of other countries; it will consider all taxes, whether income, consumption, transfer, wealth, or other national-level taxes, as well as subnational taxes.

The Conference will begin on Monday, September 14, 2020 at the Washington, DC, offices of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman with a research roundtable featuring principally academic papers. The research roundtable will follow the format typical of academic conferences, providing ample time for conversation among participants.

The second day of the Conference, Tuesday, September 15, 2020, will be held at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, also in Washington, DC. It will consist of a policy-oriented program of panel discussions bringing together academics, practicing attorneys, economists, policy makers, legislators and others to consider issues related to gender and taxation and to consider strategies for incorporation of gender-related concerns into everyday tax policy discourse. At least one panel will feature the recent work undertaken by the National Women’s Law Center exploring the relationship between taxation and gender (see https://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/NWLC-Tax-Executive-Summary-Accessible.pdf).

We are now seeking participants interested in contributing either to the research roundtable or to the policy program (or to both). Participants can be legal academics, economists, legal practitioners, government officials, policy researchers, or others with an interest and expertise in tax law and its administration. Contributors from the United States as well as other countries are welcome.

Scholars, analysts and policymakers of all levels of seniority and from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals for consideration for inclusion in panel discussions. We expect that for each day of the program, there will be approximately 5-10 speaking slots available. Contributions to be presented at the research roundtable should be works in progress, not published (or committed to publication) prior to the conference. Contributions to be presented as part of the policy program may be works in progress or may be work published (or committed to publication) prior to the conference. A brief description of possible panel topics to be addressed in the policy program is provided below; please understand that this listing is intended to provide directional guidance on possible panel and research paper topics and should not be viewed as limiting the potential issues to be addressed.

Those interested in presenting at either the research roundtable or the policy program portion of the Conference should send an abstract of no more than 500 words describing their proposed presentation, an indication of whether the proposal is for the research roundtable or the policy program, and a copy of their CV to Alice Abreu at taxandgender@temple.edu. If the proposed panel presentation is based on a published or soon-to-be-published work, please also attach a copy or draft of the work. Expressions of interest are due by March 15, 2020. The Academic Advisory Committee expects to notify accepted participants by May 1, 2020. Accepted participants should submit circulation drafts of the work to be presented no later than August 14, 2020. Selected participants may be invited to publish their completed papers in The Tax Lawyer or may choose to publish elsewhere. (The Tax Lawyer is the flagship scholarly journal published by the Tax Section of the American Bar Association and is published in cooperation with the Graduate Tax Program of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law; it has a robust circulation both in print and through electronic access).

Limited funding may be available for reasonable travel expenses of those selected to present their work; in your expression of interest please indicate whether you will need financial assistance to participate in this event. There is no fee for attending the conference. The conference will be webcast and is open to members of the public.

We look forward to hearing from many interested potential contributors.

Organizers: Julie Divola (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and American Tax Policy Institute), Elaine Maag (Tax Policy Center), and Alice Abreu (Temple Center for Tax Law and Public Policy and American Tax Policy Institute)

Academic Advisory Committee: Alice Abreu (Temple), Bridget Crawford, (Pace) Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh), Ariel Jurow Kleiman (San Diego), and Stephen Shay (Harvard)


The following is a representative list of panel topics for the policy program. Final panel topics will be determined based upon the abstracts received in response to this Call for Contributions.

    • In general: A review of the positive and negative (intentional and unintentional) impacts of tax laws on gender equality, including a broad discussion of the form such tax laws can take (e.g., the marriage penalty, deductions or exemptions for entrepreneurial efforts, consumption vs. income taxes, wage withholding taxes, pink taxes, corporate tax expenditures).
    • Impacts of U.S. tax laws on gender equality. Possible topics for separate panels include:
      • Specific issues under the TCJA.
      • A comparisons of gender equality issues as reflected in the tax reform proposals advanced by the current presidential candidates.
    • One or more topics covered in three interrelated reports prepared by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) that examine the federal tax code with a focus on gender and racial equity and explore policies to make the tax code work for everyone. (See (i) The Faulty Foundations of the Tax Code: Gender and Racial Bias in Our Tax Laws, (ii) Reckoning with the Hidden Rules of Gender in the Tax Code: How Low Taxes on Corporations and the Wealthy Impact Women’s Economic Opportunity and Security and (iii) The Faulty Foundations of the Tax Code: Gender and Racial Bias in Our Tax Laws at https://nwlc.org/resources/gender-and-the-tax-code/.) The papers were prepared by NWLC in collaboration with Groundwork Collaborative, the Roosevelt Institute, and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality.
    • Impact of U.S. tax administration (including collection and other enforcement efforts) on gender equality (e.g., innocent spouse relief).
    • Discussion of the economic impact of tax laws that influence gender equality (e.g., distributional effect on how income is distributed between the sexes and allocative effect on how paid and unpaid labor is allocated between the sexes). General discussion of the connection between gender equality and economic growth.
    • Examination of tax systems in countries that have historically been more thoughtful than the United States on the question of taxation and gender equality, including measures such countries have taken to advance the issue. For example, the German Technical Cooperative has a program to support OECD partner countries in their efforts to reform tax policy and tax administration to avoid or eliminate gender bias.
    • Examination of the impact of tax laws on gender equality in developing countries. For example, the International Centre for Tax and Development with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done research in this area.
    • Use of gender-neutral language in the tax law and government publications and encouraging equivalent use of names that suggest male, female, and indeterminate genders and the accompanying pronouns.

January 16, 2020 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 10, 2020

CLE on 2020 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a video webcast entitled, 2020 Tax Updates for Trusts and Estates, on Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Get the Latest Information and Tools to Save Clients on Taxes

This incisive course will get you up to speed on the year's developments in estate planning and asset protection tax laws so you can make tactical decisions and provide cutting -edge representation. Let our esteemed faculty guide you through ongoing legislative developments, key laws and rulings so you can enhance your tax planning strategy and ensure compliant returns - register today!

    • Clarify recent changes in tax law and regulation and prepare for their potential effects.
    • Analyze the most important case law of the year to glean future threats and opportunities for your clients.
    • Hear about new tax tools to add to your arsenal.
    • Get an advance look at future developments coming down the pike.

Who Should Attend

This essential tax update is for attorneys. Accountants, tax professionals, wealth managers, trust administrators/officers and paralegals will also benefit.

Course Content

    • Current Relevant Federal Tax Laws, Rates, Exemptions
    • Trust Tax Deductions under TCJA: Core Changes and Clear Guidance
    • IRS Tax Forms and Procedures Updates
    • Unpacking the Section 199A Changes and Opportunities
    • SECURE Act and Its Effect on IRA Planning
    • Current IRS Guidance and Enforcement Initiatives
    • Cross-Border Tax Issues Every Estate Planner Needs to Know
    • Reassessing and Repairing/Replacing Old Tax Planning Techniques
    • Legal Ethics and Tax Planning
    • Looking Ahead

January 10, 2020 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions: Resolve To Plan Better

NYE2020Many people are determined to abide by their New Year's resolution, whether it be working out, sticking to a diet, or generally being a better person. But there is one resolution that person should stick to - plan better for the future.

  • Resolve to plan before the election. If the Democratic party gains enough traction, whether it be in the Senate or in the Oval Office, a severe estate tax bill may be coming. Meet with an estate planning professional to make sure your assets are safe, just in case
  • Resolve not to repeat the biggest 2012 planning mistake. In the last year of uncertainty, many people transferred large assets into irrevocable trusts and then immediately had a decent amount of remorse. There are other tools that estate planners possess that can get assets out of your estate that will not cause buyer's remorse.
  • Resolve to evaluate all existing life insurance trusts. Currently, the annual exclusion gift amount is $15,000 per donee, but depending on the election results, that may change to $20,000 per donor. If the $20,000 cap is enacted, you might have difficulty funding your life insurance premiums by gifts to the trust. 
  • Resolve to review appreciated assets inside every grantor revocable trust. Given the run-up in the stock market over the past decade, if you have not recently reviewed appreciated assets inside your trust, you should to avoid your estate obtaining a step-up in the income basis of those assets.
  • Resolve to review tax reimbursement clauses (or not) in your revocable grantor trusts.
  • Resolve to talk to your entire planning team about the secure act.
  • Resolve to fund your trusts.
  • Resolve to revise your documents, including power of attorney.

See Martin Shenkman, Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions: Resolve To Plan Better, Forbes, January 1, 2020.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

January 2, 2020 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Taxpayers with Conduit Trust Planning Should Consider Revising that Planning ASAP

SecureactpiggybankTrusts have numerous benefits, including limiting beneficiary access to funds, protection of trust assets from creditors, and third party management over assets placed in the trust. Many taxpayers choose to direct their IRA accounts to be paid into trust to take advantage of payouts that can be stretched out over the lifetime of the trust beneficiaries. The tax liabilities could also be stretched out.

Maximum deferral involved meeting several regulatory requirements, referred to as an "accumulation trust," and often these are drafted to qualify as "conduit trusts." A conduit trust for these purposes requires the distribution to the beneficiaries of no less than the required minimum distributions (RMDs) received by the trust from the subject IRA account in the tax year it is received.

The recently passed Setting Every Up Community for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, changes all of this. The SECURE ACT ends stretching distributions over the lifetime of trust beneficiaries other than spouses (with some exceptions). Instead, such accounts must be paid out no later than 10 years after death of the account owner. This may seriously diminish a settlor's intent on establishing a trust as the beneficiary of their IRA. A taxpayer that has incorporated a conduit trust in their estate planning should consult with their planner to see if some adjustments are necessary.

See Charles Rubin, Taxpayers with Conduit Trust Planning Should Consider Revising that Planning ASAP, Rubin on Tax, December 21, 2019.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

December 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

CLE on State Income Taxation on Nongrantor Trusts: Taking Your Trust on the Road

CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a webcast entitled, State Income Taxation on Nongrantor Trusts: Taking Your Trust on the Road, on Thursday, January 9th, 2020 at 12:00 to 1:30 pm Eastern. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend

Planning for state income taxation on trusts is a critical aspect of the estate planning process. If done well, it can produce substantial benefits; if done poorly, it can produce substantial cost. Register today for this 90 minute webcast to better understand how states tax trust income and how you can establish the situs of a trust in order to minimize those taxes. Learn ways to reduce or eliminate the state tax on any new trusts you draft as well as any existing trusts you’ve worked on – your clients will thank you!

What You Will Learn

A faculty of experienced estate planning and tax practitioners – all Fellows of ACTEC – will:

    • Survey how all 50 states and the District of Columbia tax trust income
    • Summarize the constitutional limitations on such taxation following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kaestner decision
    • Describe the rules in key states
    • Consider planning for new and existing trusts
    • Address several related issues

All registrants will receive a set of downloadable course materials to accompany the program.

Who Should Attend

Estate planners, tax advisors, and other related professionals will benefit from this CLE on state income taxation of trusts jointly offered by ALI CLE and ACTEC.

December 19, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Article on The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Charitable Giving: Impact and Planning Strategies

Charity1Julie R. Sirrs recently published an Article entitled, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Charitable Giving: Impact and Planning Strategies, Probate & Property Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 6 (Nov/Dec 2019). Provided  below is the introduction to the Article:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) effective January 1, 2018, represents one of the most significant changes to the US Tax Code in decades. One area in which the TCJA appeared to formally change little was the deductibility of charitable gifts. Other changes under the TCJA, however, particularly those resulting in dramatic reduction in the number of taxpayers who itemize, have had a profound impact of charitable giving and require new strategies for charitable gift planning. This article will explore those changes and suggest opportunities to maximize the tax benefits of charitable giving under the new law.

November 14, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Article on Wealth Taxation: An Overview of the Issues

MoneyAlan D. Viard recently published an Article entitled, Wealth Taxation: An Overview of the Issues, Wills, Trusts, & Estates Law eJournal (2019). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

Two Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have proposed annual wealth taxes. Annual wealth taxes have been adopted in a number of European countries (many of which later repealed them), but not in the United States. Although the proposed wealth tax rates appear low, they are equivalent to high-rate income taxes. Due to the pronounced concentration of wealth in the United States, a wealth tax would be highly progressive. The tax would probably reduce national saving and investment to some extent, although capital inflows would ameliorate the investment reduction. Congress would likely add exemptions for selected assets, which would be distortionary and diminish the tax’s revenue yield. The tax would face compliance and administration challenges due to undervaluation and concealment of assets and it might be ruled unconstitutional in the absence of suitable modifications. Although those challenges would probably not be insurmountable, it would be simpler and more prudent to pursue any desired increase in tax progressivity through reforms of the income tax and estate and gift taxes.

October 18, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Inflation Adjusted 2020 Figures Announced

IrsThe Internal Revenue Service has announced the inflation adjustments for the estate and gift tax exclusion, the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption, the gift tax exclusion and other estate planning rates for 2020.

  • The federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts will increase by $180,000, from $11.4 million to $11.58 million.
  • The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption will also going to be $11,580,000.
  • The annual gift tax exclusion will remain the same at $15,000 per donor per donee per calendar year.
  • Trust and estate income tax rate brackets have also been released.
    • If income is less than $2,600, the tax is 10% of taxable income.
    • If income is over $2,600 but not over $9,450, the tax is $260 plus 24% of what is over $2,600.
    • If income is over $9,450 but not over $12,950, the tax is $1904 plus 35% of what is over $9,450.
    • The highest bracket comes in at amounts over $12,950, in which the tax is $3,129 plus 37% of the excess over $12,950.

See James V. Roberts, Inflation Adjusted 2020 Figures Announced, JamesVRoberts.com, September 25, 2019.

September 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, September 20, 2019

Northern Illinois Law Seeks Entry Level Faculty

NIUNORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications for anticipated openings for two entry-level tenure-track faculty positions beginning August 2020. Duties include engaging in high quality research and teaching, as well as being an active participant in law school and university service. Requirements include a J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school, an ability to engage in high quality research and teaching, and a willingness to actively participate in law school and university service.

We are particularly interested in candidates specializing in contracts, business associations, tax, torts, trusts and estates, and skills courses in the areas of pre-trial skills and/or business related skills.

If you have not registered for the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference and wish to apply, please go to the position posting through the NIU applicant tracking system at the following link: http://employment.niu.edu/postings/47421.

Please note that to be officially considered for this position, a cover letter, resume, and a list of names/addresses/email addresses/phone numbers of three current professional references will be required as uploads to NIU’s applicant tracking system.

Please direct questions to Interim Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Associate Professor Yolanda King, Chair of the Appointments Committee, Northern Illinois University College of Law, Swen Parson Hall, DeKalb Illinois 60115-2890 at lking@niu.edu , or Tita Kaus at 815-753-1068 tkaus@niu.edu . Preference will be given to applications received by September 24, 2019, although applications will be accepted until the positions are filled.

In accordance with applicable statutes and regulations, NIU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, and will comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations and orders pertaining to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action.

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.

September 20, 2019 in Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Faculty Positions -- Permanent, Income Tax, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

CLE on Probate Process, Procedures and Documents: All the Forms and Checklists in One Place

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Probate Process, Procedures and Documents: All the Forms and Checklists in One, on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Navigate Probate with Confidence

When the client is no longer there to make his or her voice heard, the task of interpreting his/her wishes to accurately settle the estate falls on your shoulders. Do you have all the tools you will need? This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the probate process, equipping you with the checklists, forms and documents you will need to guide your clients through each time-sensitive procedure. Learn what to do and when to do it, from the initial petition to the final accounting. Register today!

    • Don't miss a step - learn how to map out the entire probate process by utilizing a master checklist.
    • Examine the essential content of the initial petition and understand the procedure for filing it.
    • Receive practical tips on valuing and recording assets to be included in the estate inventory.
    • Handle creditor notices and responses.
    • Understand key provisions of trusts and their impact on the probate process.
    • Learn what must be included in the final accounting and review sample tax returns.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants and CPAs, trust officers, and paralegals.

Course Content

    • Probate Process and Executor Duties: The Master Checklist with Deadlines
    • Wills: Key Provisions, Validity, Interpreting Unique Instructions
    • Initial Petition and Letters of Authority: Content and Procedure
    • Estate Inventory: Valuing and Recording Assets
    • Creditor Notices and Responses
    • Trusts: Key Provisions, Trustee Duties, and the Trust's Impact on Probate
    • Final Accounting: What Must and Should Be Included
    • TAX Returns and Schedules for the Estate and the Decedent: Forms, Deadlines, Exentions (With Sample Returns)
    • Estate Closing and Distributions: Notices of Proposed Action, Petition to Discharge the Fiduciary, and Other Key Documents
    • Ethical Practice Considerations and Concerns in Probate

September 17, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)