Estate Tax Planning Problems
BY CHARLES F. REINHARDT Partner, Los Angeles Office
Presented before the Second Annual Tax Institute of Arizona
State University, Tempe, Arizona — November 1960
MANY PEOPLE have come to regard estate planning as a fairly new field in which to provide service for clients. I think the increased amount of interest developed in this area is due to the fact that the great impact of income and estate and inheritance taxes is being recognized by a larger portion of the population.
Actually, estate planning has been with us for a much greater period of time than is generally realized. Recently I attended a meeting
at which a member of my firm discussed estate planning. In his introductory remarks, he pointed out that estate planning was as old as the laws regarding the rights to own property. He stated that the recognition of property rights and the existence of rights to dispose of such property rights could be traced back to the days of the Roman Empire. Fortunately, high estate and inheritance taxes have not been in effect for all that time.
In the United States we have had Federal estate taxes imposed for temporary purposes in four instances. The first instance was early in our history, the second instance was during the Civil War, and the third instance was during the Spanish-American War. These taxes were short-lived. The fourth instance came during World War I and it differed from the earlier laws in that its temporary nature turned permanent. Our present estate-tax law is the vigorous offspring of that law. One can engage in long discussions as to the propriety of such taxes and the philosophy supporting the imposition of such taxes but that is not the purpose of our meeting today. Perhaps these two examples will show how far these taxes now reach.
About three years ago I read an article in the newspapers regarding
Mr. Marshall Field. The substance of the article was that an estate created by Mr. Field's grandfather's will had terminated and the corpus was being distributed to Mr. Field. The grandfather died in 1911 and the estate amounted to approximately $60 million on which no Federal estate tax was imposed.
A few weeks ago I read an article in the newspaper regarding a member of the Gould family who had died in the early part of 1960. The article stated that the gross estate was $60 million and that