Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2009

Abstract

Select financial institutions and members of the Bar have seized upon the presence of the limited exemption from the generation skipping transfer tax provided under the Internal Revenue Code to promote so-called dynasty trusts as a means whereby individuals can build dynastic wealth for a family forever free from transfer taxes. To realize such benefits, state law that does not impose the Rule Against Perpetuities must govern the trust. The promise of dynastic wealth is unlikely to be realized due to several factors. Administrative and tax costs are likely to reduce the yield on such trusts to a level where inflation, rising expectations, and an ever growing band of beneficiaries are typically assured to outpace the ability of the trust to deliver the benefits anticipated by trust settlors. Whether required under current standards of professional responsibility or not, an understanding of these factors can elevate the quality of service provided by estate planners.