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Post-Mortem Estate Planning Techniques: Income Tax Planning and Estate Tax Considerations

Trust Planning, Modifications and Allocations Post-Tax Reform, Basis Adjustments, Distribution Timing, and Funding Issues

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide estate planning counsel with sophisticated methods for post-mortem estate planning, including trust modification and allocations and estate tax considerations. The panel will offer tools to help fiduciaries and trust administrators navigate post-mortem planning challenges and opportunities, options for trust modifications, and discuss possible tax impacts of post-mortem planning modifications.


Post-mortem tax and distribution planning presents significant challenges and opportunities for fiduciaries and estate planning counsel. In addition to complying with state and local law and tax reporting requirements, administrators are faced with distribution decisions, evaluating tax elections, and trust modifications in reaction to post-mortem events and changed circumstances.

The most notable tax consequences to a person's death is a tax on the transfer of wealth, decedent's personal income tax liabilities, and fiduciary income tax consequences in settling the estate. These tax liabilities have a significant impact on post-mortem planning techniques in light of the increased federal estate and gift tax exemption under the new tax law. Estate planners must focus on implementing methods aimed at limiting income tax liability for the benefit of the decedent's estate.

Estate 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 using the provisions of IRC 6166 or structuring a "Graegin" loan.

With changes to the estate tax regime, planners and administrators must shift their focus from estate tax avoidance to income tax minimization and maintain 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. Post-mortem planning: federal and state tax challenges
  2. Trust conversions and beneficiary designations
  3. Tax deferral elections and potential pitfalls
  4. Use of alternate valuations
  5. Trust modifications and potential ramifications


The panel will review these and other key topics:

  • The shift from estate tax reduction to income tax minimization post-tax reform
  • Estate distribution timing and funding issues
  • Deferring tax using Section 6166, testamentary CLATs and "Graegin loans"
  • Obtaining step-up on basis at death and basis consistency reporting requirements
  • Income tax planning for partnerships after death
  • Utilizing the Section 645 election
  • Where to take administration expense deductions
  • Protecting the fiduciary from tax liabilities


Dougherty, James
James I. Dougherty

Withers Bergman

Mr. Dougherty focuses his practice on probate, tax, trust, and estate issues. He assists executors and beneficiaries...  |  Read More

Dromsky-Reed, Susan
Susan K. Dromsky-Reed

Brach Eichler

Ms. Dromsky-Reed concentrates her practice in estate planning and estate administration. She provides individuals and...  |  Read More

Gladstone, Stuart
Stuart M. Gladstone

Brach Eichler

Mr. Gladstone is recognized as one of New Jersey’s leading authorities, representing individuals as well...  |  Read More

Ritter, David
David J. Ritter

Brach Eichler

Mr. Ritter has been providing counsel on income and estate tax planning for individuals as well as their businesses and...  |  Read More

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