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International Estate Planning

Estate Planning is designed as an authoritative and practical working tool for attorneys and others involved in estate planning practice. The basic estate, gift, and trust planning concepts are presented in a descriptive and conveniently accessible form. Written by William P. Streng, Esq., Vinson & Elkins Professor of Law, University of Houston Law Center, and Consultant, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, this Portfolio analyzes the development of an estate planning strategy; fundamentals of the federal transfer tax system and related federal income tax rules; lifetime donative asset transfers; gratuitous property transfers at death; generation-skipping transfers; special property transfer planning considerations (e.g., community property, life insurance, charitable transfers, closely held corporations); and post-mortem planning.

Effective estate planning (particularly, the federal tax planning component) enables a person to make both lifetime and testamentary transfers of assets to that person’s beneficiaries of choice and, in the process, conserve wealth for those recipients (often family members). Various methods may be employed to both (i) achieve the estate planning client’s objectives regarding the completion of these transfers and the post-mortem management and disposition of the property, and (ii) minimize income, gift, and estate tax liabilities on the asset transfers. Effective estate planning, however, requires a working knowledge of both the federal and state tax (income, estate, and gift) and the non-tax reasons for using traditional wealth shifting vehicles such as wills, trusts, and powers of appointment. Therefore, a familiarity with various state property, trust, and business laws is also essential. This Portfolio provides the practitioner with an overview of the estate planning concepts necessary in advising clients concerning these several elements of wealth transfer planning.

The planning discussed in this Portfolio is primarily focused on the period prior to 2010. Under the 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act the federal estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes are scheduled for phase-down and then repeal in 2010 but, subsequently, restoration in 2011 (as these taxes existed before the 2001 Act). The 2001 Act provides a modified carryover tax basis regime in 2010 for federal income tax purposes. The 2001 Act did not repeal the gift tax system, however. Consequently, although it is widely expected that the 2010 repeal and carryover basis provisions will be reversed, at various locations in this Portfolio planning observations are included for three separate periods: (i) the years prior to 2010; (ii) when the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes are terminated during 2010; and (iii) after the restoration in 2011 of the prior transfer tax system.

Estate Planning allows you to benefit from:

•Hundreds of hours of original research on specific tax planning topics from leading practitioners in this area
•Invaluable practice documents including tables, charts, and lists
•Plain-English guidance from world-class experts
•Real-world and in-depth analysis that lets you explore various options
•Time-saving access to relevant sections of tax laws, regulations, court cases, IRS documents, and more
•Alternative approaches to both common and unique tax scenarios