Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Trusts and Estates

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Summer 2001 Newsletter

Newsletter - Trusts and Estates

Volume 18, No. 1


Dear Fellow Members:

As members of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar, we have the good fortune to provide legal services to clients who seek guidance on how to dispose of assets that they have worked a lifetime to accumulate so as to positively affect the lives of the people who are most dear to them. In providing this guidance, many of us enjoy a very special type of job-satisfaction.

As estate planners, many of us consider ourselves to be· tax practitioners. Perhaps too often, we view the minimization of transfer taxes as the most important goal that we can achieve for our clients. Because the amount of tax can be easily quantified, the effect that planning can have on taxes can easily become the focus of our discussions with our clients. Although tax planning is very important, few of our clients would choose a plan that guaranteed zero taxes over a plan that guaranteed happiness and security for their loved ones.

Recent serious consideration of estate tax repeal has led to predictions that our estate planning practices might change significantly. If the repeal efforts bear fruit, we can expect to have more opportunities to help our clients to achieve the less quantifiable but critically important goals that can easily be overlooked when the estate tax looms on the horizon. This shift in focus should prove beneficial to our clients and rewarding for us. In fact, it may prove to be more valuable to many of our clients than the promised tax savings.

Regardless of the outcome of the estate tax repeal debate, I remain optimistic about our practice area and grateful for the opportunity to be of service to clients. I am also grateful to the authors who have contributed to this newsletter and to Phil Stone for his efforts as the editor of the Newsletter.


Timothy H. Guare

*Editor's Note: On May 26, 2001, Congress passed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, which reforms and ultimately repeals the gift and estate tax by 2010. The Act was signed by President Bush on June 7, 2001.

Summer 2001 Newsletter (.pdf)