Post-Mortem Estate Planning Complexities

Strategies for Leveraging Changes in Circumstance and Correcting Costly Omissions in the Decedent’s Plan

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

Conducted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Course Materials

This CLE course will expand estate planning counsel's knowledge of post-mortem planning issues and techniques to allow for the smooth transition of assets to intended beneficiaries. Our experienced panelists will discuss the required filings, review tax issues related to federal and state estate tax and estate and beneficiary income tax, and offer best practices for disclaimers and important elections.


Post-mortem estate planning involves the maximization of assets distributed to intended beneficiaries while minimizing the tax burden for the estate. These over-arching goals are met through careful post-mortem planning that anticipates potential legislative and economic changes.

Either the executor or beneficiaries can make post-mortem planning decisions. The executor makes certain elections or deductions on the decedent’s final income tax return. A beneficiary may alter the estate plan by appropriately disclaiming a distribution or asserting an elective share.

In addition to elective decisions, executors have required functions in the administration phase. Specifically, counsel must be knowledgeable of the required filings to include in the decedent's federal and state income tax returns as well as the various returns on behalf of the estate.

Listen as our distinguished panel discusses the most common issues that must be addressed during the administration phase of a decedent’s estate plan. They will discuss the appropriate timing and manner of the various elections, decisions and required filings.



  1. Required filings
    1. Federal
      1. Decedent’s personal income tax return
      2. Decedent’s estate tax return
      3. Decedent’s gift tax return
    2. State
  2. Disclaimers
    1. Qualified disclaimers under I.R.C. Section 2518
    2. Planning
  3. Income in respect of decedent
  4. Valuation
    1. Alternative valuation method
  5. Estate and income tax deductions
    1. Estate tax return
    2. Income tax return


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What is the purpose of post-mortem estate planning?
  • What issues must be addressed during the administration phase of the decedent's estate plan?
  •  What decisions must the executor make?
  • What decisions may the beneficiaries make?
  • What is the appropriate timing and structure of the decisions made post-mortem?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Michelle L. Ward
Michelle L. Ward

Keebler & Associates

Ms. Ward focuses her practice on estate and retirement distribution planning. She also analyzes trusts for designated...  |  Read More

Michaeline Gordon
Michaeline Gordon

Dolgin Law Group

Ms. Gordon focuses her practice on estate and trust planning, asset protection, estate and trust administration,...  |  Read More