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TaxProf Highlights New Estate and Gift Tax Book by Profs. Danforth and Hellwig

April 9, 2013 Leave a comment

6a00d8341c4eab53ef017d4268cb75970c-800wiAs noted on the well-known law blog TaxProf, Washington and Lee professors Robert Danforth and Brant Hellwig have published a new edition of Estate and Gift Taxation (LexisNexis). From the blog:

This edition of Estate and Gift Taxation transitions from the temporary estate and gift tax regime that prevailed for the last decade by incorporating the provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that places the federal wealth transfer tax regime on a permanent footing. In addition to noting these fundamental legislative changes, the book devotes additional coverage to a number of recent estate and gift taxation hot topics, including:

  • Defined value transfers and the increasing acceptance of this technique by courts;
  • Portability of the unified credit from a predeceasing spouse to a surviving spouse;
  • Availability of the gift tax annual exclusion for transfers of restricted beneficial interests in closely held entities; and
  • Recent cases examining challenges to the use of family limited partnerships as estate planning vehicles.

Like the first edition of Estate and Gift Taxation published in 2011, the second edition consists of discrete chapters addressing the estate and gift tax regime in a context specific manner (i.e., jointly held property; life insurance; powers of appointment; retained-interest transfers, etc.). Each chapter contains a narrative explanation of the material, with important cases typically summarized rather than reproduced in full. Each chapter closes with a problem set requiring students to apply the relevant doctrine in the context of realistic hypothetical examples. A common technique in the problems is to present students sample trust language and then to ask students to identify tax pitfalls and to suggest drafting solutions around them. The authors provide their suggested answers to the problems in the comprehensive Teacher’s Manual for the second edition, which also will be available in July.

This book is part of the Graduate Tax Seriesthe first and only series of course materials designed for use in tax LL.M. programs. Like all books in the Series, Estate and Gift Taxation was designed from the ground-up with the needs of graduate tax faculty and students in mind.

You can read more about the Graduate Tax Series at TaxProf.

W&L Professors Johnson, Danforth, and Millon Post Piece on Third-Year Program

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Professors Lyman Johnson, Robert Danforth, and David Millon have posted a piece discussing the third-year program at W&L Law.  The piece appears in Reforming Legal Education (Moss & Curtis, eds.).  Here is a description of the piece, which can be downloaded by visiting http://ssrn.com/abstract=2139789:

In early 2008, Washington and Lee fundamentally reformed the entire third year law school curriculum. The new curriculum broke with decades-long tradition by focusing entirely on student-centered, experiential learning. It also sharply distinguished the educational approach in the third year from that in the first and second years, thereby creating a strong sense of pedagogical progression. Finally, it more deliberately prepared students for the transition to practice and emphasized the importance of attending to the formation of a professional identity.

This article, a chapter in a new book − Reforming Legal Education (D. Moss & D. Curtis, eds., 2012) – describes in detail the substantive curricular changes made at Washington and Lee. But it also describes more process-oriented factors that are critical to successful curricular reform such as aligning proposed changes with a school’s or university’s larger strategic objectives so as to achieve true institutional “fit.” We also describe the importance of thoughtful implementation of reform, after adoption, through a phased-in “roll out” process. Finally, we relate how our curricular changes included, from the outset, a mandated mechanism for post-adoption assessment on an ongoing basis. Assurance of expected regular occasions for revisiting curricular reform can itself facilitate change and overcome initial resistance.

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