This Note will first provide a brief background outlining the incidents of joint tenancy which make it an attractive form of co-ownership under state law. This background section also will place joint ownership in the overall perspective of federal estate and gift taxation by pointing out the impossibility of achieving certain basic federal estate planning objectives in an estate composed primarily of jointly held assets. The Note will then analyze the specific provisions of the Internal Revenue Code governing federal estate and gift taxation of joint interests. This analysis will: first, focus on some of the legal problems generated by the present provisions and demonstrate the unnecessary uncertainty and complexity fostered by the current scheme of federal estate and gift taxation of joint interests;second, examine the estate planning alternatives available under the present provisions and assess the consistency of these provisions with the overall system of estate and gift taxation enacted by the Tax Reform Act of 1976; third, point out a solution to the problems of federal estate and gift taxation of joint ownership between non-spouses overlooked in the Tax Reform Act of 1976; and last, demonstrate that the problems of federal estate and gift taxation of inter-spousal joint ownership are inherent in the current scheme of federal estate and gift taxation of married couples and that these problems illustrate the need for comprehensive reform in this area of the estate and gift tax law.
Hugh D. Brown,
Federal Estate and Gift Taxation of Joint Interests: Planning and Policy Perspectives,
32 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol32/iss6/4