Focus Series
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The Focus Series will provide practical insights and guidance on the planning challenges and opportunities available to estate planners and their clients in a post-ATRA environment. Topics will include portability, evolving issues in planning with trusts, planning for clients who may not be subject to the federal estate tax, planning for larger estates (including how to maximize income tax savings), charitable giving, and the impact of the 3.8% health care surtax on both trusts and individuals.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (9:00 – 9:50 a.m.)
Portability: Now Available in Generic Form

Thomas W. Abendroth


Congress has made portability of the applicable exclusion amount a permanent part of the Code. It is now an integral part of the planning advice we prescribe to our clients. But in many respects, we still are experimenting with how best to use it. This session will review the current state of portability and its uses, both routine and experimental.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (9:50 – 10:40 a.m.)
Venn Diagrams: Meet Me at the Intersection of Estate and Income Tax

Paul S. Lee


Post-ATRA planning for larger estates will increasingly focus on income tax planning, the management of tax basis, and maximizing the "step-up" in basis at death. This presentation will discuss: measuring the transfer tax costs (including state estate and inheritance taxes) against the income tax savings from the "step-up" on different types of assets; recapturing assets that have already been transferred; multiplying the applicable exclusion amount; using trust and partnership elections, distributions, and reorganizations to maximize the "step-up" and "split" income across taxpayers.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014 (11:45 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.)
Health Care Surtax: Individuals — Dancing Under a 3.8% Limbo Pole

Christopher R. Hoyt


The 3.8% health care surtax is triggered once a person's modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds $200,000 ($250,000 on a joint return). But several income sources are exempt from the surtax, including IRA distributions and certain profits from an S corporation. Techniques that can help an individual reduce MAGI may become increasingly popular, including installment sales, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Special Session I-A (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Planning for Estates Under $10 Million: A Rubik's Cube of Simplicity

Martin M. Shenkman, Steve R. Akers, Christopher R. Hoyt


Estate planning for clients who may not be subject to the federal estate tax might, on first blush, appear seemingly simple; yet, the permutations of planning options are as legion. And like the Rubik's cube, a turn to align one issue, shifts another out of alignment. Planners will have to balance the often competing client objectives of: maximizing income tax basis on death, minimizing state estate tax in a decoupled state, asset protection goals, and simplicity and cost consciousness if there is no federal estate tax, and more. Default reliance on bypass/QTIP planning will no longer suffice. Existing planning will also have to be re-evaluated, often resulting in an Alice in Wonderland like planning where taxpayers will affirmatively assert positions the IRS had historically used to challenge planning options. Welcome to the rabbit hole of FLPs with intentional 2036 strings, ILITs without typical Crummey powers, and more.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Special Session II-A (3:50 – 5:20 p.m.)
Venn Diagrams II: Tax Basis and Income Tax Planning for Larger Estates

Paul S. Lee, Cassady V. Brewer, Ellen K. Harrison


This presentation will focus on the more complex planning techniques that create, sustain and maintain tax basis and maximize income tax savings. The panel will focus on: the use of partnerships to "shift" basis, income, and assets and to maximize the "step-up" in basis with the Section 754 election and partnership debt; creating estate tax inclusion and basis through elections, powers, and appointments in trust; preferred partnerships; planning with depreciable and depletable assets; and the use of trusts to defer or avoid state income taxes.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Special Session II-B (3:50 – 5:20 p.m.)
Clinical Trials with Portability

Thomas W. Abendroth, Richard S. Franklin, Lester B. Law


The panel will discuss the use of portability in various common planning scenarios, including couples below and above the applicable exclusion amount, second marriages and blended families, clients with closely-held assets, and clients in states with state death taxes. They will focus in part on the situations in which portability may replace traditional credit shelter planning.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 (9:00 – 9:50 a.m.)
Must We Trust a Trust That's Just a Crust That Wast a Trust?

Ronald D. Aucutt


This presentation will examine what some view as "un-trust-like" notions — protectors, selectors, advisors, appointers, special trustees, directed trusts, secret trusts, virtual representation, in terrorem forfeitures, self-settled trusts, perpetual trusts, decanting, and the like — and ask if what we call trusts are really worthy of the treatment accorded that venerable institution.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 (9:50 – 10:40 a.m.)
Ay ay ay — NII! The 3.8% Tax on Trusts and Estates — Planning and Administration

John Goldsbury


The 3.8% health care surtax on “net investment income” (NII) is finally here for 2013. Proposed regulations are out; final regulations are scheduled for 2013. The tax applies to individuals and trusts/estates, but there are several quirks applicable only to trusts/estates. This session will focus on the latter, both on the planning side and the administrative side.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:45 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.
Charitable Giving in the New Estate Planning Environment

Turney P. Berry


This presentation will examine: planning for and creating charitable interests in trusts that are primarily non-charitable; using deferred gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts as long-term care and retirement planning devices and for other uses as tax rates rise; preserving ancestral homes and family farms through charitable transfers; and the use of charity when transferring business interests and investment portfolios. It will also consider selecting the best charitable device and recipient to meet the client's objectives and the effect of interest rate changes on charitable planning.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 - Special Session III-A (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Trusts We Trust

Ronald D. Aucutt, Bruce M. Stone


This session will sift through the pieces of trust law left after the morning's session, seeking balance between aggressiveness and timidity in achieving clients' goals.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 - Special Session III-C (2:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
Practical Issues in Planning for the 3.8% Tax on Trusts/Estates

John Goldsbury, Robert S. Keebler


This session will go over several examples (some from the regulations; some from the panelists) illustrating the 3.8% health care surtax as it applies to trusts/estates.


Thursday, January 16, 2014 - Special Session IV-A (3:50 – 5:20 p.m.)
Charitable Planning Today

Turney P. Berry, Stephanie Casteel, Martin Hall


This panel presentation will consider in-depth the charitable giving strategies available to today's estate planners, including practical tips on designing the most effective strategies to meet your client's objectives.


Friday, January 17, 2014 10:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Estate Planning: The New Frontier

Martin M. Shenkman


ATRA, the final frontier. Thriving in the brave new world of permanent high exemptions and portability, applying new planning approaches and perspectives. Highlights of Heckerling. Capitalizing on changing demographics and client desires, harnessing technological efficiencies and more, to thrive in the post-ATRA environment. The reduced importance of the federal estate tax doesn't lessen the need for planning, it only changes the estate planning conversation for many clients.

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: