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Biography

Russell A. Willis III, J.D., LL.M., is a writer and editor for CharitablePlanning.com, a subscription website that provides daily coverage and in-depth analysis of developments in tax law affecting charitable gift planning.

As a paralegal consultant, Mr. Willis works with nonprofits, donors, and their advisors in structuring charitable contributions of business and real property interests to serve the mutual advantage of all parties to the transaction.

Mr. Willis has a law degree from St. Louis University and a master's degree in taxation law from Washington University in St. Louis. He also has an undergraduate degree in English from Indiana University, Bloomington and a master's degree in English from the University of Chicago.

Before moving to Portland, Oregon in 2008, Russ practiced law in St. Louis, Missouri for more than twenty years. He chaired the steering committee of the probate and trust law section of the local bar association in St. Louis and served for years on a legislative drafting subcommittee of the probate and trust law committee of the Missouri bar. As an adjunct member of the faculty at the St. Louis University school of law, he taught courses in future interests and tax-driven estate planning.

Over the years, Mr. Willis has published a number of articles in law journals and in publications serving the charitable planned giving profession, and he has been a frequent speaker at seminars for lawyers and for charitable gift planners.

A transportational bicyclist and sometime bike mechanic, Mr. Willis was a founding board member of the St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation and chaired its policy and advocacy committee before moving to Portland to live car-free.

Commentary

Law Could Prevent or Discourage Charitable Gifts in 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010
Legislative IRS

Gifts to some charitable vehicles such as a CRT, CGA, PIF, or retained life estate may be subject to gift taxes and may require restructuring as a result of Section 2511(c), which was enacted as part of EGTRRA. This provision is only a concern for 2010, or for any year during which there is no estate tax.

Don't Try This at Home: Reforming the Non-Qualified Split-Interest Trust

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recent court decisions and letter rulings suggest that nearly forty years after TRA 69, it is still not uncommon to see a CRT that does not conform to the requirements of Section 664, and for which a deduction will be disallowed. This article enables the planner to identify the problem and take corrective action through judicial reformation of the trust instrument, disclaimers, or settlement of a controversy among beneficiaries, or through some combination of these. Attention is given to several creative approaches to the problem that have received favorable letter rulings.