Trust & Estates Special Report: Estate Planning & Taxation

Trust & Estates published a special report on Estate Planning & Taxation with the subtitle “Scratching Your Head Over 1020 Estate Plans?”

Four leading tax attorneys were asked to respond to questions about the future of the estate tax. The attorneys were:

  • Charles A. Redd, Sonnenschein Nath * Rosenthal LLP
  • David A. Handler, Kirkland & Ellis
  • David R. Hodgman, Schiff Hardin LLP
  • Joshua S. Rubenstein, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

The questions they were asked to address related to client receptivity (to planning in a time of uncertainty), problems experienced while dealing in this ennvironment, the possibility of retroactive changes to the estate tax law, and the prospects for change after 2010.

The panel was divided on most questions. But some of the panelists were bold in their predictions, nevertheless.

Charles A. (Clary) Redd, a long-time friend of Mercer Capital, said:

“I boldly predict that retroactive reinstatement of the federal estate tax and GST tax bill will not occur.”

But no one knows for sure. The varied comments were, in their own way, helpful as a tool for thinking about the issues.

What has this to do with buy-sell agreements? Most business owners don’t know what their buy-sell agreements say or how they will work. Now is a perfect time for owners to get with their advisers to begin talking about posisbilities for changes in their buy-sell agreements. Now is also a perfect time for advisers to initiate or to continue the dialogue.

As always, I refer both owners and advisers to my new book, Buy-Sell Agreements for Closely Held and Family Business Owners, available at