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The Elective Share Has No Friends: Creditors Trump Spouse In The Battle Over The Revocable Trust, Angela M. Vallario Jan 2017

The Elective Share Has No Friends: Creditors Trump Spouse In The Battle Over The Revocable Trust, Angela M. Vallario

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A revocable trust is a popular estate planning tool used to disinherit a spouse in sixteen jurisdictions. In common law jurisdictions, a surviving spouse, who is dissatisfied with his or her inheritance, has the right to receive an elective share of the decedent's estate regardless of the decedent's estate plan. However, sixteen jurisdictions have defined a dissatisfied spouse's rights with a fractional share of the deceased spouse's "net probate estate," allowing one spouse to disinherit the other, by single-handedly transferring his or her assets to a revocable trust. To add insult to injury seven of these ...


Toward A Reality-Based Estate Tax, Wendy C. Gerzog Jan 2016

Toward A Reality-Based Estate Tax, Wendy C. Gerzog

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Currently, the estate tax does not accurately value the property and transactions that it is meant to cover. Additionally, the marital and charitable deductions do not reflect actual associated transfers, instead skewing their benefits away from their purported beneficiaries. This Article proposes reforming the estate tax by eliminating these sources of unreality and distortion, and to make the current estate tax a reality-based tax. Through six specific proposals, the Article identifies solutions to the problems associated with testamentary transfers, puts forth alternative methods of valuation to prevent gaming of transfer taxes, and offers significant modifications to two deduction provisions.


A Simpler Verifiable Gift Tax, Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2015

A Simpler Verifiable Gift Tax, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The purpose of this article is to propose a simpler verifiable gift tax, to reassert basic principles of transfer taxes, to encourage simple, outright gifts, and to eliminate some of the major abuses in the current gift tax regime. To accomplish these goals, the proposed tax would simplify gift completion rules, adopt a hard-to-complete rule of transfer taxation, reduce the annual exclusion while expanding the consumption exclusion, and employ loss of preference inducements to increase gift tax compliance.


Alms To The Rich: The Facade Easement Deduction, Wendy G. Gerzog Oct 2014

Alms To The Rich: The Facade Easement Deduction, Wendy G. Gerzog

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This article presents the case for repeal of the façade easement deduction. Proponents of this benefit argue that the deduction encourages historic preservation by reimbursing property owners for relinquishing their right to alter the façade of their property in a way inconsistent with that conservation goal; however, this article shows that there are many reasons to urge its repeal: the revenue loss, the small number of beneficiaries, the financial demographics of that group of beneficiaries; the dubious industries that are supported by the deduction; and the continual marked overvaluation and abuse despite Congressional, court, and administrative review and expense.

After ...


What's Wrong With A Federal Inheritance Tax?, Wendy G. Gerzog Apr 2014

What's Wrong With A Federal Inheritance Tax?, Wendy G. Gerzog

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Scholars have proposed a federal inheritance tax as an alternative to the current federal transfer tax, but there are serious flaws with that idea. In existing inheritance tax systems, those problems include: (1) different tax rates and exemptions based on the decedent’s relationship to the beneficiary; (2) the lack of a tax on lifetime gratuitous transfers, including gifts with retained interests or control; and (3) the persistence of most current valuation distortion abuses. In any inheritance tax model, moreover, there would be significantly decreased compliance rates and increased administrative costs because by focusing on the transferees instead of the ...


Van Alen: A Reasonable Consistency, Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2014

Van Alen: A Reasonable Consistency, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Van Alen, the Tax Court held that the duty of consistency required that two of the decedent’s children use the section 2032A basis valuation figures to determine gain on the sale of their interest in the decedent’s ranch, which was left to them in trust. The siblings had argued that their stepmother erroneously completed their father’s estate tax return.


Graev: Conditional Facade Easement, Wendy G. Gerzog Sep 2013

Graev: Conditional Facade Easement, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Graev v. Commissioner, the Tax Court decided whether the taxpayers’ donations of a facade easement and cash contributions were conditional gifts and therefore disallowable as charitable deductions under the requirements of the regulations. The court reviewed the facts to determine whether the condition was allowed because it was “so remote as to be negligible.” The taxpayers argued that case law at the time of the donation allowed for a donation of between 10 and 15 percent of the value of the property, and that they had deducted a value constituting 11 percent of the property’s appraised value; that ...


Koons: Interest Deduction And Flp Valuation Practice Pointers, Wendy G. Gerzog Jul 2013

Koons: Interest Deduction And Flp Valuation Practice Pointers, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The Tax Court's Koons decision explains the rules for allowing an estate to deduct interest payments, and it details how the court arrived at a determination of the value of a family limited liability company interest.


Valuing Fractional Interests In Art For Estate Tax Purposes, Wendy G. Gerzog May 2013

Valuing Fractional Interests In Art For Estate Tax Purposes, Wendy G. Gerzog

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It is difficult to value fractional interests in art because there is virtually no market in those interests. Nevertheless, the Tax Court in Estate of Elkins valued the decedent’s fractional interests in multiple artworks, which the decedent and his children highly cherished. First, the court addressed the restricted agreements under section 2703 and then the court determined the value of decedent’s interests in the art.


When Sommers Are Winters: Do Blanks Denote Revocability?, Wendy G. Gerzog Mar 2013

When Sommers Are Winters: Do Blanks Denote Revocability?, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Sommers, ruling on both parties’ motions for partial summary judgment, the Tax Court dealt with claims of issue preclusion and collateral estoppel, equitable apportionment, the completion of gifts of limited liability company interests, and retained powers that would cause estate tax inclusion.

Two aspects of Sommers held particular interest for me. The first is that the parties appear to be arguing their opponent’s conventional position. The second is that the court grappled with whether the blanks left in the gift documents were immaterial to gift completion; however, the court did not address whether the decedent’s completed gifts ...


Wimmer Wins Flp Annual Exclusions, Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2013

Wimmer Wins Flp Annual Exclusions, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Wimmer, the Tax Court held that the income stream from a taxpayer’s gifts of family limited partnership interests was eligible for the annual exclusion. By comparing the income interest in the partnership’s dividend paying marketable securities to the income interest in a trust, the court made Wimmer a winner. But does the opinion logically lead to that conclusion?


Facade Easement: Inexpert Valuation, Wendy G. Gerzog Jul 2012

Facade Easement: Inexpert Valuation, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The article discusses the recent Dunlap decision, which involved facade easement transfers to the National Architectural Trust, a qualified charity that preserves building easements across the country, although most are in New York City. Although allowing a deduction for their cash contributions to NAT to enforce the easement and not finding any penalties applicable, the Tax Court held that despite two valuation reports written by accepted valuation experts, the taxpayers had not established any value for their easement.


Wandering Far Afield With Defined Value Clauses, Wendy G. Gerzog May 2012

Wandering Far Afield With Defined Value Clauses, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The Wandry decision extends the application of defined value clauses beyond those family limited partnership cases that transfer any excess value to a charity. In Wandry, the Tax Court reads Procter narrowly and ignores the fundamental rationale of Robinette.


Defined Value Clauses And Fair Market Value, Wendy G. Gerzog Mar 2012

Defined Value Clauses And Fair Market Value, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Hendrix the Tax Court considered the issues of whether defined value clauses were the result of arm’s-length transactions and whether they were void as against public policy. The underlying dispute was whether the taxpayers’ transfers of the John H. Hendrix Co. stock were valued at fair market value. With a decision favoring the taxpayers, the defined value clauses in both McCord and Hendrix impede the accurate valuation of taxable gifts to family members and of deductible charitable gifts.


Boomer-Ang Eldercare: Deductible Claim?, Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2012

Boomer-Ang Eldercare: Deductible Claim?, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In this article, Gerzog discusses Estate of Olivo, in which the Tax Court determined the deductibility under section 2053 of a claim against the decedent’s estate for eldercare services provided by a family member.


Flp Loss, But Crummey Win, Wendy G. Gerzog Nov 2011

Flp Loss, But Crummey Win, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Turner the Tax Court determined that section 2036 applied to the decedent’s transfers of assets to his family limited partnership but that the insurance premiums he paid indirectly to his insurance trust qualified for the annual exclusion.


The New Super-Charged Pat (Power Of Appointment Trust), Wendy G. Gerzog Oct 2011

The New Super-Charged Pat (Power Of Appointment Trust), Wendy G. Gerzog

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This article proposes to repeal the QTIP provisions in order to collect revenue now for transfers that are essentially transfers to third parties and not to the decedent's spouse. Because there are advantages of increased flexibility attendant to a QTIP as opposed to a PAT, this article proposes to take those repealed QTIP benefits and attach them to the PAT, which would greatly enhance that marital deduction trust form. A super-charged PAT would thereby be able to preserve the decedent's GST tax exemption (like a reverse QTIP), create a decedent's by-pass trust by allowing a PAT (or ...


Shapiro: Palimony And The Estate Tax, Wendy G. Gerzog May 2011

Shapiro: Palimony And The Estate Tax, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Estate of Shapiro, the Ninth Circuit held that an individual had a valid palimony claim under Nevada state law. However, the issue was whether the decedent’s estate qualified for a deduction for that claim under federal estate tax law.


Linton Reversed: Indirect Gifts And The Step Transaction Doctrine, Wendy G. Gerzog Mar 2011

Linton Reversed: Indirect Gifts And The Step Transaction Doctrine, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The Ninth Circuit recently reversed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of the government in Linton on the issues of indirect gift and the applicability of the step transaction doctrine. The circuit court’s analysis focused on the taxpayers’ donative intent. With that emphasis, the Ninth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine the sequence of the relevant transactions.


Morgens: More Qtip Mischief, Wendy G. Gerzog Jul 2010

Morgens: More Qtip Mischief, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Morgens, the court ruled in favor of the government that section 2035(b) applied to the gift taxes paid by the qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust beneficiaries to gross up the widow’s estate by that amount. Because the surviving (or donee) spouse must be taxed on the underlying property over which she has no ownership rights, Congress enacted section 2207A to allow the second spouse to recover from the beneficiaries of the property the transfer taxes relating to her gift or estate inclusion. However, the court held that section 2207A did not shift the gift tax liability ...


Flp In The Black, Wendy G. Gerzog Apr 2010

Flp In The Black, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In Estate of Black, because the Tax Court held the Blacks' transfers fell within the bona fide sales exception of section 2036, they were successful at avoiding the application of the provision. Thus, they were able to obtain valuation discounts for their transfers of property (mostly marketable securities) to their son and grandchildren. The court also decided the marital trust funding valuation date issue in the executor's favor and allowed almost half of the claimed administrative expense deductions.


Check-The-Box Regs And Gift Tax Discounts, Wendy G. Gerzog Feb 2010

Check-The-Box Regs And Gift Tax Discounts, Wendy G. Gerzog

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This article discusses the recent Tax Court decision in Pierre and the effect for gift tax purposes of an entity’s classification made under the check-the-box regulations. The court was split on what those regulations mean when they state that an entity is to be disregarded ‘‘for federal tax purposes.’’


The Times They Are Not A-Changin': Reforming The Charitable Split-Interest Rules (Again), Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2010

The Times They Are Not A-Changin': Reforming The Charitable Split-Interest Rules (Again), Wendy G. Gerzog

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The article reviews the history of the tax treatment of charitable split interest gifts, explains the inequities that Congress both cured and generated in its 1969 reforms, and proposes solutions that are consistent with the goals of the 1969 legislation. The article discusses variations in the 1969 definition of a charitable split interest, which, because of the enacted statutory language, applies in instances where there is no abuse potential. The inequity produced by that definition penalizes the donor and flouts the rationale behind the 1969 legislation. By contrast, the creation of some required statutory forms of charitable split interests in ...


Linton Family Llc And The Step Transaction Doctrine, Wendy G. Gerzog Nov 2009

Linton Family Llc And The Step Transaction Doctrine, Wendy G. Gerzog

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This article discusses Linton, a district court decision about a family limited liability company, indirect gifts, and the step transaction doctrine.


Families For Tax Purposes: What About The Steps, Wendy G. Gerzog Jul 2009

Families For Tax Purposes: What About The Steps, Wendy G. Gerzog

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At least 4.4 million families in the U.S. are blended ones that include step-children and step-parents. For tax purposes, these steps receive preferential treatment for their status because they are on the one hand included as family members for many income tax benefit sections, but on the other hand excluded as family members for business entity attribution purposes and for gift and estate tax anti-abuse provisions. In the interests of fairness and uniformity, steps should be treated as family members for all tax purposes where steps have in fact voluntarily acted as their biological or adoptive counterparts, both ...


Negron: Circuits Now Split 2-2, Wendy G. Gerzog May 2009

Negron: Circuits Now Split 2-2, Wendy G. Gerzog

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The article discusses Negron and the circuit split on the issue of whether to value non-assignable lottery payments in a decedent's estate by means of the actuarial tables or whether that value needs to be discounted for non-marketability.


Valuation Discounting Techniques: Terms Gone Awry, Wendy G. Gerzog Apr 2008

Valuation Discounting Techniques: Terms Gone Awry, Wendy G. Gerzog

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Fair market value is defined in the section 2031 Regulations. For its validity, that definition of fair market value relies on the normal definitions of its significant terms: a seller is someone who is seeking the highest price for her product and a buyer is someone who wants to obtain the lowest price for his purchase. It is only that tension that creates the realistic, and fair, market value of that asset. Indeed, without that conflict, the definition is comprised of hollow words.

In the context of family limited partnerships, terms have been misused. By utilizing the limited partnership shell ...


From The Greedy To The Needy, Wendy G. Gerzog Jan 2008

From The Greedy To The Needy, Wendy G. Gerzog

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In some instances when the taxpayer makes a charitable donation, the loss of revenue to the government, and the corresponding gain to the taxpayer, far exceeds the benefit to the charity. Some of these losses may be generated by government sanctioned complex transactions and even government created devices. This article proposes a new way to examine "quid pro quo" charitable gifts that reflects the rationale for the charitable deduction.The article analyzes various charitable donations in terms of the dollars gained by the taxpayer, the dollars lost by the government, and the dollars received by the charity. After considering a ...


Shape Up Or Ship Out: Accountability To Third Parties For Patent Ambiguities In Testamentary Documents, Angela M. Vallario Jan 2004

Shape Up Or Ship Out: Accountability To Third Parties For Patent Ambiguities In Testamentary Documents, Angela M. Vallario

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The attorney's preparation of a testamentary document (hereinafter sometimes referred to as a will or revocable trust) should clearly and accurately reflect the client's last wishes. Although these testamentary documents should reflect the client's intent, they often fall short of accomplishing that goal. There are numerous examples of will and trust construction cases that exhaust tremendous resources in an effort to ascertain the client's wishes or intent. Many of these cases involve the construction of patent and/or latent ambiguities which should have been resolved by appropriate drafting. This article's scope is limited to patent ...


Spousal Election: Suggested Equitable Reform For The Division Of Property At Death, Angela M. Vallario Apr 2003

Spousal Election: Suggested Equitable Reform For The Division Of Property At Death, Angela M. Vallario

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Testators have traditionally enjoyed immense discretion in directing the disposition of their wealth upon death; however, when a spouse survives the testator, public policy dictates a limitation on the testator's ability to dispose of property. American jurisdictions impose this limitation through the elective share in common law states and by the nature of property ownership in community property states. Ideally, this limitation should ensure equitable financial protection for the surviving spouse and protect his or her interest in assets that were accumulated with the decedent, yet the current elective share methods fall short of these goals.