"Estate Tax Repeal: Taylor English’s Vivian Hoard Quoted in Daily Report," June 22, 2010

By Meredith Hobbs Plenty of attorneys have aging parents or represent clients who do. For those handling the estate of someone who has died this year—or who might—the repeal of the estate tax for 2010 presents a number of headaches. Tax litigator Vivian D. Hoard of Taylor English Duma addressed their concerns at a Continuing Legal Education program Thursday called "The Sandwich Generation: Legal Issues Affecting the Family Caregiver." Paying no estate tax sounds great, but Hoard cautioned that Congress could pass a retroactive estate tax after the end of the year—and that the executor of the estate could be personally liable for both the estate tax and income tax on the estate. "The problem is that we don't know if there's going to be a tax," she said. Hoard advised executors to delay distributing an estate until next year, after it's clear how Congress will handle the 2010 estate tax. "If you distribute the estate based on there being no tax and then we get a retroactive tax, there could be big problems," she said, adding that by law the executor is responsible for paying the tax. Heirs may also be liable. Hoard added that even if the probate court relieves the executor of liability for the decedent's taxes, he or she is not necessarily off the hook. "The IRS is not bound by what the probate court says." "Save everything in the estate until you know there is no tax," she said. "You don't want to be the test case litigating that issue."

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