Post-Mortem Trust Planning, Modifications and Allocations: Tax Elections Available to the Executor

Modifying Trusts Post-Mortem to Minimize Income Tax, Utilize Deferral Opportunities, and Optimize Basis Adjustments

Recording of a 90-minute CLE/CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE/CPE webinar will provide estate planning counsel with an advanced and practical guide to post-mortem planning, including trust modification and allocations. The panel will offer tools to help fiduciaries and trust administrators navigate post-mortem planning challenges and opportunities, including how to manage conflicting duties in administration of trusts. The program will also detail options for post-mortem trust modification, and discuss possible tax impacts of post-mortem modifications.


Post-mortem tax and distribution planning often presents significant challenges for fiduciaries and estate planning counsel. This is particularly true of complex estates with assets located or trusts sitused in multiple states. In addition to complying with state and local law and tax reporting requirements, administrators frequently are faced with distribution decisions, evaluating tax elections and trust modifications in reaction to post-mortem events and changes in circumstances.

Planners and administrators may achieve significant income tax savings by evaluating trust structures and utilizing advanced strategies to gain step-ups in asset basis. Additionally, fiduciaries should be on the lookout for tax deferral opportunities, such as utilizing the provisions of IRC 6166 or structuring a “Graegin” loan.

With major changes to the estate tax regime likely to further change the emphasis from estate tax avoidance to income tax minimization, estate planners and administrators must have a thorough understanding of the post-mortem strategies available to avoid income tax while still honoring the decedent’s testamentary intent.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a thorough and practical guide to advanced post-mortem planning strategies, risks and opportunities.


  1. Trust conversions and beneficiary designations
  2. Post-mortem tax deferral elections
  3. Six-month alternate valuation election
  4. Tax Deferral elections
  5. Trust modification opportunities and risks


The panel will review these and other key topics:

  • Turning a bypass trust into a grantor-type trust with the beneficiary as grantor
  • Discounting the value of assets after death of the first spouse to die without adverse consequences
  • Deferring tax using Section 6166, testamentary CLATs and “Graegin loans”
  • Getting a full step-up on basis at both the first and the second death
  • Unfunded trusts
  • Income tax planning for partnerships after death

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Discern the impact of post-mortem elections available to estate planners and fiduciaries
  • Recognize circumstances where a six-month alternate valuation would be appropriate
  • Identify opportunities for discounting value of assets held by a marital trust after the death of the first spouse
  • Decide when modification of trust documents such as turning a bypass trust into a grantor trust with a named beneficiary as the grantor would result in income tax savings
  • Determine benefits of tax deferral elections such as IRC 6166, testamentary CLATs or Graegin loans


Jonathan C. Lurie, Partner
Venable, Los Angeles

Mr. Lurie focuses his practice on international and domestic tax, estate planning, and trust administration. He practices in his Firm's Tax and Wealth Planning practice and is an American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Fellow. He has lectured on estate planning at Whittier School of Law and the University of West Los Angeles, and frequently speaks and writes on the subject. He also has served as an expert witness in several cases involving trust administration.

Jeremiah W. Doyle, IV, Senior Wealth Strategist
BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Boston

Mr. Doyle provides clients with integrated wealth management advice on how to hold, manage and transfer their wealth in a tax efficient manner. He is the editor and co-author of Preparing Fiduciary Income Tax Returns, a contributing author of Preparing Estate Tax Returns and Understanding and Using Trusts and a contributing author of Drafting Irrevocable Trusts in Massachusetts. He is a lecturer in law in the Graduate Tax Program at Boston University School of Law.

James I. Dougherty
Withers Bergman, Greenwich, Conn.

Mr. Dougherty focuses on the estate planning and estate administration needs of high net worth individuals and their families. He assists executors and beneficiaries alike through all aspects of the estate administration process including probate, contested estates, tax, and post-mortem estate planning issues. He is a frequent author on topics related to his practice. Among his many written works, he co-authored a book, The Connecticut Probate and Estate Administration Practice Guide, published by LexisNexis. He also frequently speaks to national audiences on a wide range of topics within wealth planning, including estate administration, post-mortem estate planning, probate litigation, federal and state transfer tax planning, and international probate.

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Better than I expected. Well done on both subject matter and production quality.

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Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella

The program was well organized and discussed the major issues.

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Wolff & Samson

The seminar was very informative and easy to understand.

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Anderson Hunter Law Firm

The webinar offered excellent insight into some specific areas.

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Estate Planning Advisory Board

Gary D. Altman

Principal and Founder

Altman & Assoc.

Brian M. Annino


Annino Law Firm

Richard S. Franklin


Franklin Karibjanian & Law

J. Leigh Griffith

Partner and Practice Group Leader - Tax

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

L. Paul Hood, Jr.

Consultant, Speaker and Author

The University of Toledo Foundation

Denise L. Iocco


Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf

Donna J. Jackson


Donna J. Jackson, Attorney at Law

Salvatore J. LaMendola


Giarmarco Mullins & Horton

Edwin P. Morrow, III, Esq.

Senior Wealth Specialist

Key Private Bank Wealth Advisory Services

Scott K. Tippett


The Tippett Law Firm

Susan M. von Herrmann


Perkins Coie

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