The United States Supreme Court rarely addresses trusts and estates issues. The purview of the states, issues arising in intergenerational wealth transfers, are generally outside federal jurisdiction. To reach the U.S. Supreme Court, trusts and estates cases typically involve federal preemption or the constitutionality of a state’s law; the latter has brought the most recent trusts and estates case before the Court.
In an article by Professor Douglas A. Kahn published by the American Bar Association, Mr. Kahn contends that the increase in experiential learning in law schools is leading to a decrease in law student enrollment in core doctrinal classes, such as tax courses. According to Professor Kahn, only one-third of the students who recently graduated from Michigan Law School took a tax class, and less than 10% of those students took either partnership or corporate taxation. Sadly, the situation at Michigan Law School is not unique.
When most people think of waterfalls, the first thing that comes to mind is likely Niagara or Victoria. Waterfalls in the legal sense are not nearly as breathtaking or awe-inspiring as these natural curtains of water. Nonetheless, when properly drafted, a distribution waterfall in an operating agreement is a fairly impressive provision.