Risk Minimization and the Christiansen Decision

A critical aspect of estate planning is the minimization of risk. And in estate planning, risk comes in many forms: valuation risk, unintended gift or estate tax risks, ineffective property transfer risk, the risk that legislative changes to the estate or gift tax laws can make planning obsolete and even the risk that a decedent’s family will want to alter the decedent’s estate plan posthumously. The recently issued decision of the Tax Court in H. Christiansen Est., advances the law on the subject of risk minimization by providing practitioners with a deliberate and thoughtful discussion and decision on the use of formulas and savings clauses to effect a desired tax result. Neal Gerber Eisenberg partner and Private Wealth Services chair Lawrence I. Richman authored an article that appears in the May/June 2008 edition of CCH's Journal of Passthrough Entities.