Gift and Estate Tax in Practice (Grossman/Fishman)
T 4:30PM - 6:20PM
Silverman Hall 245A
GIFT AND ESTATE TAX IN PRACTICE SPRING TERM 2024
PRACTICING LAW: Estate and Gift Tax as a Window into the Actual Practice of Law Harry and Joan Bloom are a dynamic, successful “power couple” who have a thriving business and are the parents of three adult children and grandparents to four grandchildren. The family business, which Harry inherited from his parents, is growing, and Joan, who is a retired renowned psychologist, is now deeply involved in charitable work. Joan and Harry are enjoying spending time in their new winter home in Florida, and a bit unsure who succeeds Harry in running the business. The Blooms need help in their estate planning. They have come to the students in this immersive, interactive class for advice on the many issues they are likely to face (and some of which they may be unaware!). Cloaked in the subject matter of estate and gift tax planning, the Blooms’ new lawyers will experience the real life practice of law, utilizing in-class simulations, client interactions, factual analysis and drafting.
Through practical and actual example derived from years of sophisticated Estate Planning experience, coverage of this course will be over three principal areas: (1) the fundamental tools used in estate and gift tax planning - the statutory and legal framework, and the documents (including Wills, Trusts, tax returns) employed in implementation; (2) how the breadth of “non-tax concepts” play into estate and gift tax planning in practice. We will see how one’s planning necessarily brings into focus aspects of business law (corporate financing, employment matters, business control issues, litigation, bankruptcy and more) and other issues such as: protection of assets from creditors and divorcing spouses; issues associated with owning, managing and valuing one’s assets; use of investment advisors; use of life insurance; and issues associated with philanthropic giving; and (3) use of those fundamental tools and non-tax concepts in the integration of a complex planning model for the Bloom family and gauging results of such planning.
There is no expectation that students will come to this class with a particular expertise, other than an interest in previewing a real life legal practice experience; it will be helpful, but not required, to have some basic federal income tax knowledge. Students will be clearly guided in their assignments. Preparation will be required for each class and will, at different times, include: (i) readings; (ii) drafting client and intra-office memoranda and certain other documents typically provided to clients as part of a client engagement; and (ii) preparation for simulated client meetings and interactions. A principal goal over the course of the semester is to have students know and become engaged with the Bloom family, and accomplishing that goal by applying evolving facts to the practical needs of the family and providing the kind of advice the clients will expect from their lawyers. This is the course “we wish we had available in law school,” and will be a helpful transition to the full time practice of law.
This course is structured to be an interactive and participation course and, therefore, students will be graded primarily on class participation and on their preparation for and involvement in presentations and simulations. The following are specifics, which are subject to some changes as the semester evolves:
1. Class Attendance and Participation: 20% 2. Assigned Presentations and Simulations: a) Class Presentations 20% b) Client Meetings 30% 3. Written Assignments (agenda goals, tax computations): 30%
Business and Corporate Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of business and corporate law; Perform legal analysis in the context of business and corporate law; Communicate effectively on topics related to business and corporate law; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between the world of business and finance and that of business and corporate law, and how they affect other areas of law and society.
Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.
Tax Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of tax law and policy; Perform legal analysis in the context of tax law and policy; Communicate effectively on topics related to tax law and policy; Demonstrate an understanding of how tax law and policy affect other areas of law and business.
Professional Responsibility and Ethics Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.