On June 13, Tax and Accounting Director Peggy Ugent was a featured speaker at the American Institute for Certified Public Accounts’ 2017 Advanced Estate Planning Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her presentation, entitled “Looking Beyond our Borders – U.S. Income, Estate and Gift Tax Implications,” examined the complexities surrounding U.S. taxation and the reporting requirements of individuals and businesses with cross-border activities. You can click here to download her presentation.
Ms. Ugent, who is the Vice-Chair of the AICPA’s Trust, Estate and Gift Technical Resource Panel, also joined other members of the panel on the morning of June 15 for the AICPA Trust, Estate & Gift Tax Policy & Advocacy Update.
In the wake of Sandra Bonham’s retirement earlier this year, Hailey Bobella has taken over as the paralegal for the estate planning department. She works primarily with Derry Swanger and Steven Baker to help clients create and maintain domestic estate planning structures and administer decedents’ estates. Ms. Bobella will also continue to act in her capacity as business development specialist, focusing on the firm’s business development, marketing, and branding efforts, and offering administrative support to Edgewater Consulting Group, Ltd.
On Monday, February 20, Bob Chesner will have the distinct pleasure of once again presenting at Tony Robbins’ Platinum Partnership event. This year, the event will be held in Whistler, British Columbia at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Bob will be presenting on the power of private placement life insurance and creating unlimited tax-free retirement income. We’re thrilled that Bob will once again have the incredible opportunity to share his passion among such distinuished company.
After gracing us for a wonderful three years as a legal assistant, Amy P. Hur departed the firm on February 15, 2017 to pursue new opportunities. We thank her tremendously for all of her contributions, and wish her the best in all that is to come!
In the two weeks since President Donald Trump issued his executive order restricting travel to the United States, our country has been confronted with many challenging questions. Countless legal minds have wondered, “Is this politics as usual or something altogether different?” There are no easy answers. In the legal and constitutional chaos that have resulted, however, firm partner Cindy Grossman has found an edifying opportunity to affirm her identity and pride as a lawyer. We asked her a few questions about her pro bono assistance at Newark Liberty International Airport, and what it all means to her.
GSRJ: How did you first get involved?
CLG: My experience with what is now (mostly humorously) known as the Law Firm of the Resistance started the Sunday morning after the order was signed. Despite my lack of direct experience in immigration law, I can research and write, and with some guidance, I can understand enough of a new area of law to be helpful to the experts. So, after perusing the Facebook page of “Lawyers for Good Government” and seeing the massive network of like-minded individuals who sprang up overnight to defend our Constitution, I decided I would sign up to volunteer. I’m so glad I did.
GSRJ: What has the experience been like?
CLG: Well, things have been a little quieter at Newark than at some of the larger airports throughout the country. We haven’t necessarily been dramatically running to the courthouse to file habeas corpus petitions. Instead, we mostly stay abreast of any developments with the various legal challenges across the country and others’ practical experiences with Customs and Border Protection, and then monitor incoming flights for affected travelers to help prepare them for what they may experience when passing through immigration, and to offer any advice that we can. Many of those travelers are simply comforted to know that we are tracking their arrival, and that we’re right on the other side of immigration should they need us.
A broader part of the work has been through email and Twitter. Lawyers of all stripes, throughout the country, have been using the internet to stay in touch, to offer expertise in drafting documents, to deal with law enforcement groups, and to provide each other with words of encouragement. Essentially, thousands of lawyers throughout the nation coalesced seemingly out of nowhere to do what they do best: turn a chaotic situation into an orderly one.
GSRJ: How has it impacted you personally?
CLG: I have never been so proud to be a lawyer. To see so many selflessly offer all that they know, as well as their time, in the name of advocacy for those who do not have a voice has been a humbling and inspiring experience. It’s been an educational one, too; after watching a group of at-the-ready-lawyers join forces band together to uphold their view of the Constitution, our laws, and our government, I recalled the point Shakespeare was making when he had Dick the Butcher proclaim “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” in Henry IV! We can truly be a force to be reckoned with.
On a more personal note, too, the incredible diversity of those battling on the front lines alongside me made an impression. Sitting at our makeshift clinic table by Green Beans Coffee in Terminal B, I was struck by the cross-section of America that I shared the table with. Of our two Arabic interpreters, one was a first generation American whose parents came to this country from Qatar. The other was a young white man from an elite northeastern college. Our attorneys included a married couple, Punjabi by ancestry, who had grown up in Iraq and still have parents living there, a Latina immigration lawyer who worked in Biglaw, and a woman who had dusted off her law degree to come out of retirement and help. We also had a female Egyptian lawyer who works with refugees, a young female lawyer who works in the Newark public defender’s office, and me – a Jewish tax lawyer recently transplanted from Austin, Texas.
It is necessary to have all those voices at the table to formulate our responses. As cliché as it might sound, our diversity truly is our strength. I will absolutely cherish this experience; it has been exciting and consistently impressive to witness so many attorneys roused from their corporate slumber to answer the primal call of our profession and defend our system of laws. I hope that many of us will continue this hard, important work as we return to our normal practices, and take to heart the lesson of our role in American society. I know that I will.
Today Partner Michael H. Ripp, Jr. gave a presentation entitled “Life Insurance and Annuities: Effective Tools for Pre-Immigration Tax Mitigation” at the 25th Annual International Tax Conference in Miami, Florida. His presentation brought to bear his inbound-tax expertise on the various applications of life insurance and annuity products for mitigating the U.S. tax consequences of either temporary or permanent immigration to the U.S., and emphasized the use of private-placement contracts and other cost-efficient products of particular interest to the high-net-worth immigrant.
The reports coming daily out of Syria are heartbreaking. More than 470,000 people have been killed during the country’s 4+ years of civil war and some 11 million people—half of the country’s pre-war population—have been forced to flee their homes. Roughly two-thirds of those displaced have been women and children. The war in Syria, raging since late 2011, has produced the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.
While giving back to the Austin community has always been—and will always be—important to GSRP, this crisis has compelled us to reach beyond our borders, to extend a helping hand to those families that have been enveloped by war and irreparably impacted by decisions that were not their own.
As such, we have become a proud supporter of NuDay Syria, a non-profit founded in the wake of the 2011 Syrian government crackdowns. With the tagline “One Person at a Time, One Humanity,” NuDay Syria is dedicated to providing humanitarian aid—food, clothing, personal hygiene and medical supplies—to displaced families, with a focus on women and girls who have lost the male breadwinner in their families and often don’t have the skills or experience to earn a living. The organization also focuses on supporting infants and new mothers, establishing schools and soup kitchens, and sponsoring orphans. They are working to make a tangible difference and bring hope and light to those who need it.
As you gather with loved ones this holiday season, we urge you to think of those who have lost all the comforts of home and family. Please considering donating to NuDay Syria today.
COO Bob Chesner has been featured in the press once again for his insights into the complexities of 401(k) plans. This time, he sat down with Inc. magazine to discuss the ins and outs of fee structures and how he helped GSRP decide on our current provider. You can see the article here.
Congratulations once again, Bob!