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Note From the Editor: January 2020

Editor in Chief Susan R. Lipp discusses this month's issue.

This year should be an interesting one for estate-planning professionals. Just as the high estate tax exemption that went into effect in 2017 began to see the light of day, it’s now possible that, depending on the results of the November election, those higher exemption amounts will fade into the deep dark night. Our clients may be thinking about this too. In a recent survey we did of our subscribers, 54.5% responded that their clients are worried about a change in administration. Fortunately for those clients, as Charles A. Redd points out in his year-in-review column, “Snoozers and Surprises Pave the Way to 2020,” p. 17, the Internal Revenue Service recently released regulations that make clear that gifts made within the increased exemption amount used before a client’s death won’t be “clawed back” into the client’s estate.

Our other year-in-review columns touch on the impact of some significant court decisions, like the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, which addressed the need for a state tax law to have a minimum connection to the person it’s attempting to tax and the Tax Court decision in Estate of Aaron U. Jones, which approved the tax-affecting of the financial results of a pass-through entity when valuing the entity. 

We also bid a fond farewell to Michael J. Jones, who’s stepped down from the Retirement Benefits Committee. I’d like to thank Mike for all the work he’s done as Committee chair. He’s been an invaluable resource, given his expertise in this area. 

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Heckerling conference in Orlando, Fla. Please stop by our booth to say hello.

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