TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Costs of Estate Tax Dithering Just Went Up

I previously blogged my Creighton lecture on The Costs of Estate Tax DIthering, in which I speculated that the estate of Texas energy tycoon Dan Duncan (#30 of Forbes 400 Richest Americans), who died on March 28, was well-positioned to challenge any retroactive re-imposition of the estate tax.   Reader Randall K.C. Kau notes that last Thursday's death of California real estate mogul Walter Shorenstein (#371 of Forbes 400 Richest Americans) has raised the stakes.  Mr. Shorenstein's wife predeceased him (unlike Mr. Duncan), and thus the marital deduction is not available to shelter any retroactively re-imposed estate tax.

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What about Mr. Martin Ginsburg, who died with an estate of ~$45 million? Would Ms. Ruth Bader Ginsburg have to recuse herself in such a case?

Posted by: LZ | Jun 28, 2010 1:13:16 PM

I wonder if the Democrats' intention to postpone discussions on the Bush Tax Cuts extensions until after the elections will also delay estate tax debate until that time? If so, I wonder if there would be talk of retroactively putting the estate tax in place twelve months after it expired, with it least two billionaires dying during that time who would have the means to challenge the constitutionality of it?

I understand that retroactive tax legislation has been ruled constitutional. However, I think if anyone in Congress has this intention, they owe it to the public to try to do so in a expeditious manner. I don't think the majority of Democrats are making any effort on this now and with the amount of time that has passed already, it would be an outrage if they decided to try to retroactively put in this place at the end of the year.

Posted by: Dixon | Jul 2, 2010 6:27:57 AM