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Note From the Editor: March 2022

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

Over the past year, we’ve been hearing about the push to pass legislation to tax the ultra-wealthy. This issue can be contentious, spurring arguments not only between Democrats and Republicans but also among family members, as underscored by a recent New York Times article discussing the public dispute about a possible wealth tax between Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and his own son, Adam Wyden, who owns a hedge fund. (In a nutshell, the senator is a proponent of a wealth tax; his son is against one). To add to this mix, there’s also the growing “Tax Me” movement, as mentioned in “In Tax We Trust?” p. 24, by Patricia M. Angus. The article discusses how millionaires and billionaires around the world are starting to question the morality of tax avoidance, despite its legality. The article notes that practitioners may need to change their assumptions about their clients’ priorities when it comes to planning.

Some clients may want to improve the world in other ways, for example, by having a well-developed sustainable investing strategy. In “How to Guide a Conversation Around Sustainable Investing,” p. 30, Jeff Finkelman, Colleen Silver and Paulina Mejia give tips on helping clients incorporate environmental, social and governance investing to fulfill their legacy goals.

The goals of clients will vary, and you may have clients with family businesses who want to pass down their wealth to future generations. If so, it’s important to have a succession plan in place. But getting started can be a daunting prospect. In “Getting the Family Business Owner to Act on Succession Planning,” p. 20, David T. Leibell suggests ways to make the process more manageable by breaking it down into phases.

Our issue this month also includes the Valuations Committee Report. The articles include analyses of the implications of certain important cases, like Smaldino v. Commissioner and Nelson v. Comm’r, as well as how to value the right of publicity.

And finally, we mourn the loss of our beloved board member and chair of our Philanthropy Committee, Robert F. Sharpe, Jr. On p. 11, we pay tribute to his life.

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