question about trusts and estates/taxation

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question about trusts and estates/taxation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:20 am

just wondering if practicing in trusts and estates requires a knowledge of both federal income tax law and local tax law or just federal

I dont want to misspeak at an interview

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Re: question about trusts and estates/taxation

Postby Anonymous Loser » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:01 am

If you were setting up a trust, wouldn't you want your lawyer to have some understanding of your potential exposure to state and local taxes?

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Re: question about trusts and estates/taxation

Postby BeautifulSW » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:02 pm

Oh, my, yes. E&T work without a solid grasp of ALL tax consequences is malpractice per se. Avoiding tax on wealth transfers is a, sometimes the, major planning concern.

The few lawyers I know who do E&T for high-net-worth individuals (yes, we have some around here) create their estate plans and draft the necessary documents but always have the results "vetted" by a specialized CPA. Malpractice insurance for E&T tends to be more expensive than for most other areas of the law. The additional fee for a CPA review is worth it, if only to spread the risk.

That said, the tax treatment of estates, gifts and trusts is among the least technically complex areas of taxation in general. You really don't need an LL.M. in the subject nor do you need an accounting background. Most LL.M. tax programs offer just two relevant courses, Tax of Estates, Gifts and Trusts, and Income Tax of Estates and Trusts. There's plenty to know but it's not terribly difficult to learn and it tends to make pretty good sense. I should think that a handful of really quality CLE courses will give sufficient background for most practitioners. Ideally, though, if you know that this is what you want to do, you should take these courses as part of your J.D. if your school offers them.

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