Publication Date

Fall 2010



Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Estates, Trusts, Tax Law,


Many estate planners have drafted wills and revocable trusts with dispositive provisions based on formulas. These formulas often use language based on transfer tax terminology. For clients who die in 2010, the language used in these formulas will be ambiguous, if not apparently meaningless, because Congress failed to re-institute the estate tax for 2010. The resulting 2010 estate tax hiatus will result in will and revocable trust construction problems for the estates of many decedents who die during the hiatus. Courts will have to use statutory and common law construction methods to attempt to determine the decedent's dispositive intentions. This Article explains the hiatus construction problem and examines possible alternatives for attempting to determine the decedent's intent.


Reprinted with the permission of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.