RPPT Bulletin

March 2003

Download the pdf version of the bulletin (click here)

The RPPT Bulletin is emailed out on a bi-monthly basis to all Section members to keep up-to-date on the activities of the Section.

Transfer Tax Reform Task Force

The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) enacted by Congress in 2001 phases out over nine years the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, repeals for one-year the estate and GST taxes in 2010, and reinstates the estate and GST taxes in 2011.  The provisions of EGTRRA create significant uncertainty for clients in estate and financial planning matters.  The Section leadership believed that the Section members and the public would benefit if a group of individuals knowledgeable in the tax law studied and prepared a report on the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax system.  Accordingly, the Section took a leading role in creating the Task Force on Transfer Tax Reform.  The Task Force is a multi-organizational group comprised of representatives from the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, the Tax Section, the AICPA, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the American College of Tax Counsel and the American Banker’s Association.  The purpose of the Task Force is to prepare a comprehensive report for submission to Congress and Treasury and the public which analyzes technical and transitional consequences of the significant changes enacted in 2001 with respect to the gift, estate and generation skipping taxes, and various alternative legislative measures that might be adopted to eliminate the substantial uncertainties that taxpayers and their advisers now face under the existing transfer tax system.  The Task Force has received grants from the American Tax Policy Institute and the ACTEC Foundation.  University of Minnesota Law Professor Mary Louise Fellows has been retained to serve as reporter for the project.  The work of the Task Force is well under way and the Task Force expects to complete the project in 2003.

Split Dollar Task Force Meets with Treasury

In late January of this year, representatives of the RPPT and Tax Sections met with Treasury representatives to discuss the joint comments to the Treasury's Proposed Split Dollar Regulations.  The Task Force submitted the Comments during late 2002.  A copy of the proposed regulations and the Task Force Comments are found on the RPPT web site, by going to the J-1 Committee page, and clicking on the appropriate links described above. 

The web site also contains a summary of the meeting with Treasury.  The best guess of the Task Force is to predict that we will receive additional installments of the proposed regulations this spring.

Minority Outreach

Once again, the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity has named our Section to its Honor Roll in the Commission's most recent Goal IX Report on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the ABA.  The Report features the Section's Minority Outreach Program, born of the efforts of longtime RPPT member Manny Halper.  A full copy of the report can be found online. Congratulations to Manny Halper, the members of our Diversity Committee, headed by Elwood Cahill, Jo Ann Engelhardt and Roseleen Parker Rick, our Diversity Manager, Antonette Smith, and all who have worked so hard to achieve diversity in our Section, the ABA and the Profession.

At the Section's 14th Annual Symposia, we will host networking receptions and present a special outreach program, Sharpening Your Basic Commercial Real Estate Skills, on Wednesday, April 2, 2003.  The Symposia will be held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, and special meeting discounts are available for first-time minority bar association members, young lawyers and law students.  To review the program agenda and to register for the Symposia, please visit the program's web page.

Your Section at Work for You Mid-Year Meeting House of Delegates Action

At the recent Mid-Year Meeting, the House approved several resolutions co-sponsored by the Section, including the resolution that embodied the Section's position relating to Gatekeeper legislation, a proposal to prohibit discrimination in housing against victims of domestic violence and the Uniform Non-judicial Foreclosure Act promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.  Additionally, the House adopted a proposal to reduce the backlog in the court system resulting from litigation filed by plaintiffs who allege non-malignant asbestos-related diseases.  This resolution preserves the right of these potential plaintiffs to sue by tolling the statute of limitations.

Section member Elizabeth Lee will serve as the RPPT Liaison to the Property Records Industry Association, which is a national public-private partnership that includes all sectors of the property records industry.  Beth will be attending the Association's national conference, called by the Association to address growing concerns about personal information privacy issues as they relate to open record documents, including access to social security numbers, internet addresses and documents that persons often consider confidential. 

Alan Rothschild, Sid Saltz and Roger Winston have been appointed as a working group to analyze and formulate the Section's response to the ABA Task Force on the Model Definition of the Practice of Law.  The working group will be developing a letter from the Section to the ABA Task Force conveying the Section's thoughts on the model definition, much akin to the manner in which the Section made its views known to the MJP Commission in past years. 

Afghanistan Transitional Law Project

A number of Section members have submitted their names for consideration to work on a project involving the need to develop a comprehensive legal code for post-Taliban Afghanistan.  The responses underscored the importance of providing meaningful opportunities for committee members to participate in ABA sponsored projects such as this one.  The Section will remain vigilant in identifying these opportunities to maximize participation by interested section members in these types of projects.

National Health Care Decisions Week

Linda Whitton has continued the Section's significant outreach efforts to provide educational materials on health care decisions to state and local bar associations and community organizations.  Program details are available online.

Joint Meeting with Tax Section

The leadership of the Taxation and RPPT Sections has agreed to collaborate on a joint continuing education series to be held in conjunction with the Taxation Section's Fall meeting in Chicago on September 11-13, 2003.  The two Sections will host CLE programs that address developing issues in their respective practice areas, as well as four or five in-depth mini-programs covering substantive topes of interest to both Tax and RPPT members. More information available on our Online Calendar.

Fellows Program

The Section is sponsoring its third year of the Fellowship Program.

For a full description of Fellow roles and responsibilities, please visit the fellows web page.

Applications are due by June 2, 2003.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Andrew F. Palmieri at 703.837.6976 or afpalmieri@vssp.com.

2003 Student Writing Contest

The Jacques T. Schlenger Student Writing Contest is open to all law students currently attending an ABA-accredited law school. 

Complete rules as well as an entry form are also available online.  In case of any questions, please contact the coordinator of the Contest, Kevin L. Shepherd, at klshepherd@venable.com.

The deadline for submitting papers is June 15, 2003. 

Now available 

Formal Opinion 02-0428, Drafting Will on Recommendation of Potential Beneficiary Who Also is Client, recently issued by the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  Ethic opinions are available from the ABA Service Center at 800.285.2221.

Upcoming Events

April 2 - 6

14th Annual Spring Meeting 

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, NYC


April 7 - 9

The International Bar Association’s Fourth Biennial Conference on Project Finance

Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

online brochure

May 2

Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges

Chicago Bar Association

Chicago, IL

May 29 - 30

Thirteenth Annual Charitable Giving Techniques Program

Le Meridian Hotel, Chicago


June 4 - 6

ERISA Basics

The Westin Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL

June 5 - 6

National Conference for the Minority Lawyer

Philadelphia, PA

July 7 - 11

Skills Training for Estate Planners (STEP)

Emory University School of Law

Atlanta, GA


July 10 - 12

Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner

Boston, MA


July 28 - 31

Skills Training for Estate Planners (STEP)

Emory University School of Law

Atlanta, GA


August 7 - 13

ABA Annual Meeting

Hyatt Regency Embarcadero

San Francisco, CA

September 11 - 13

RPPT/Taxation Joint Fall CLE Meeting

Sheraton, Chicago

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