Focus Series
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Our unique Focus Series will explore the intersection of income and wealth transfer tax planning including managing tax basis to reduce both income and transfer taxes, unwinding unwanted or outdated transactions, planning with SCINs and private annuities, tax procedure, and marital planning in light of portability.


Monday, January 12, 2015 (9:00 – 12:15 p.m.)
Basis – Banal? Basic? Benign? Bewildering?


Howard M. Zaritsky, Lester B. Law

Basis used to be a simple tax concept of only modest importance to estate planners, but recent tax law changes have made income tax planning more important than estate tax planning for some clients, and the use of such techniques as intentional grantor trusts, contingent powers of appointment, private annuities, Alaska community property trusts, joint exempt step-up trusts (JESTs), and trust commutation have made basis sometimes very difficult to determine and even harder to integrate into an estate plan. This session will explore the rules of basis and their increasing importance in estate planning.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (9:50 – 10:40 a.m.)
Portability or No: Death of the Credit Shelter Trust?


Diana S.C. Zeydel

This program will review the opportunities and pitfalls of estate planning under the new portability regime. More complicated than advertised, relying exclusively on portability may rarely be the right answer. Planning to maintain flexibility is critical, but may be difficult to achieve. Understanding the rules and how the math works is key to giving clients the best advice. This program will apply simulation based analysis to quantify the financial consequences of a variety of estate planning strategies in light of portability. The results are eye opening and a “must-know” for every estate planner.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (2:00 – 2:50 p.m.)
SCINs and Private Annuities: Disappearing Value or Disappearing Strategies?


Steve R. Akers

For clients with “shortened” life expectancies, planners often consider sales for self-canceling installment notes (SCINs) or private annuities. Both of these strategies have come under IRS attack in recent cases. The underlying viability of these strategies, the tax effects (income, gift and estate tax) of these strategies, and practical planning considerations are addressed.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015 (10:55 – 11:45 a.m.)
Planning for the 0.2% as if They Were Part of the 99.8%: Some of the Best Planning Strategies We See that Reduce Both Income Taxes and Estate Taxes


S. Stacy Eastland

The presentation will focus on planning strategies that lower the taxpayer’s potential transfer taxes and reduce the net tax effect a sale of any assets subject to estate planning may have, including: various borrowing, location, disregarded entity, grantor trust, QSST, DSUE, mixing bowl and charitable planning strategies. The presentation will also explore various strategies that reduce a complex trust’s income taxes, indirectly benefit grantor GST trusts with a Roth IRA conversion, and enhance the basis of a surviving spouse’s assets.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - (2:50 – 3:40 p.m.)
Oh, What a Relief It Is: Curing Estate Plans that No Longer Make Sense in Light of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012


John F. Bergner

As a result of ATRA, the federal wealth transfer tax system is no longer relevant to most taxpayers and less relevant to the rest. For most taxpayers it will be more important to plan for reducing income tax than for reducing transfer tax. Typical estate planning transactions that may have once been appropriate for a client may be less so in the post- ATRA world. This presentation explores how clients can escape from the no-longer-useful (or perhaps harmful) estate planning transaction or more efficiently administer those they cannot escape from.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 (9:00 – 9:50 a.m.)
The Devil Is in the Details: Important Tax Administration and Procedural Rules for Estate Planners


M. Read Moore

Who would want to lose a tax matter for a client based on a technicality? This presentation will address important technical rules, from the obvious to the obscure, that frequently come up with estate planning clients with respect to tax returns and tax controversies. Among the topics addressed will be what is a tax return, where, when, and how to file tax returns, amended returns, the gift tax adequate disclosure rules, refund claims, statutes of limitation, and when reliance on the advice of an attorney or accountant is reasonable cause to avoid penalties.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - (2:00 – 5:20 p.m.)
You’ve Ignored Me Long Enough – The Fundamentals of the Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts


Robert S. Keebler, Jeremiah W. Doyle, IV

This easy to understand session will discuss the core concepts of the income taxation of estates and trusts including planning ideas and the “dirty dozen” things estate planners need to know. A lifetime of knowledge taught in 3 hours!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – Special Session I-A (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Projecting the Financial Consequences of Planning or Not Planning with Portability


Diana S.C. Zeydel, Robert A. Weiss

Assisting clients with appropriate estate planning in light of portability is a daunting task. Using simulation based modeling, this program will examine the financial consequences of implementing different lifetime and post-mortem planning strategies for modest, mid-range and ultra-wealthy married couples under a variety of scenarios taking income and transfer taxes into account. Can we really do nothing and rely on portability? This program will reveal what the numbers show.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – Special Session I-B (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Planning with SCINs and Private Annuities – Seizing Opportunities While Navigating Complications


Steve R. Akers, N. Todd Angkatavanich, Melissa J. Willms

SCINs and private annuities offer tremendous potential opportunities, in light of taxpayers’ ability to “self-select” when to use these strategies and various planning flexibilities. But these strategies also involve a host of complicated tax rules and requirements through which the planner must navigate. The panel will focus on practical planning issues and strategies.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – Special Session I-E (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
What You Never Knew You Never Knew: More Tax Administration and Procedural Rules for Estate Planners


M. Read Moore, Nancy G. Henderson

This workshop will consider in depth a number of additional rules that apply to tax returns and tax audits, including transferee liability, fiduciary personal liability, estate and gift tax liens, tax payments and deposits, extraterritorial application of U.S. tax laws, equitable recoupment and setoff, and similar topics. The last time this topic was addressed in depth at the Institute was in 1999, so don’t miss out on this once in a blue moon but nevertheless important topic.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015 – Special Session II-A (3:50 – 5:20 p.m.)
Planning Strategies That Reduce Both Income Taxes and Estate Taxes


S. Stacy Eastland, Steven B. Gorin, Ellen K. Harrison

If a basis enhancing strategy is not used, the panel will explore the break-even growth rate that is required before it is more advantageous to give away a low basis asset. The panel will also focus on the advantages and considerations of different basis enhancing strategies that could be used with estate planning including: various borrowing, disregarded entity, grantor trust, QSST, DSUE, mixing bowl and charitable planning strategies. The panel will also explore strategies that reduce a complex trust’s income taxes and enhance the basis of a surviving spouse’s assets.


Thursday, January 15, 2015 Special Session III-A (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Curing Obsolete Estate Plans in Light of ATRA 2012


John F. Bergner, Carol A. Cantrell, Barbara A. Sloan

This session will explore how clients can escape from prior planning techniques that are either no longer useful or perhaps harmful in light of ATRA 2012.

Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning
University of Miami School of Law, 1311 Miller Drive, Room C-423, Coral Gables, FL 33146
Telephone: 305-284-4762   |   Fax: 305-284-6752   |   Email: