Strange Estate Tax Dispute Resolved
The federal estate tax is a very significant source of asset erosion for those who are subject to this levy.
There is a relatively modest exclusion in place, and everything that exceeds this amount is taxable. That
is, unless you work with a good estate planning lawyer to position your assets with tax efficiency in
Just how devastating can the estate tax be? You can simply ask the heirs to the Ileana Sonnabend estate
Ileana Sonnabend was a noted art dealer who had accumulated an extraordinary collection before she
passed away. It was valued somewhere in the vicinity of $1 billion, and it was inherited by her children.
After conducting an inventory the estate paid out around $471 million in federal and state level estate
Many would say that this is more than enough. However, the Internal Revenue Service went about
seeking another $40 million or so in additional taxes and penalties because the estate did not pay taxes
on a work of art entitled "Canyon."
This sculptural combine by Robert Rauschenberg includes a stuffed bald eagle, and it can never be sold
because the eagle is protected. In spite of the fact that it actually has no value on the fair market the IRS
placed a $65 million taxable value on it.
Ultimately the family of the art dealer and the Internal Revenue Service came to an agreement. The
work has been donated to the New York Museum of Modern Art and the IRS is no longer seeking the
additional taxes and penalties.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Indianapolis IN of the Frank & Kraft Attorneys at Law offers
estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Indianapolis IN. To learn more about
these free resources, please visit http://www.frankkraft.com today.