As I browsed through the program for the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning this year, I couldn’t help but notice how many of our editorial advisory board members were speaking at the conference. I’ve always been in awe of the intellect and breadth of knowledge of our board members, but I now appreciate them even more, knowing that they’re not only frequent contributors to our magazine but also thought leaders in the industry. When do these people sleep? To capitalize on their expertise, Martin M. Shenkman will be conducting video interviews with them (and others) at the conference, and we’ll be posting those videos on our website. I’m looking forward to hearing their thoughts and sharing them with you.
As we start the new year, it helps to look at the developments of the past year to see where we’re headed. The implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took center stage, as practitioners tried to understand issues like how the higher exemption amounts would affect planning for their clients, how to handle the new state and local tax deduction limits and how to take advantage of the
20 percent pass-through business deductions. For example, as Charles A. Redd points out in his year-end review column, “Charting a New Course for Estate Planners in 2019,” (p. 10), clients who have formula clauses in their estate plans need to consider how those clauses would work out with the increased exemptions to make sure the results under the new law will carry out their intentions.
There also have been some significant court cases this year, including one treating a family office structured as a pass-through entity as a trade or business and another declaring a state trust taxation statute unconstitutional. Details on these and other cases are included in our special Tax Year in Review insert prepared by David A. Handler, Alison E. Lothes and their colleagues.
Finally, I’d like to welcome our new editorial advisory member, Mike Gregory, to the Valuations Committee.