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Published February 17, 2014, 10:08 AM

Ag Expo speaker advises how to ‘disinherit’ tax man

FARGO, N.D. — The 2014 International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., will feature discussions on estate planning that add some flair and fun to financials.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — The 2014 International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D., will feature discussions on estate planning that add some flair and fun to financials.

The event’s keynote speaker is Sally Mulhern of Portsmouth, N.H., speaking at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19. “Estate Planning to Die For,” her presentation title, is a phrase she’s trademarked as the title of a book she published in the third edition of “Insiders Guide for Financial Professionals.”

Mulhern promises an interactive discussion on topics including “equal” versus “equitable” when passing on a farm to heirs. Mulhern also speaks about avoiding gift tax and capital gains, using insurance as part of the inheritance plan, “disinheriting Uncle Sam” and “planning for oil and natural gas interests.”

Among Mulhern’s specialty legal tools is a “charitable lead trust.” Under this technique, an exempt amount at the time of a client’s death would go outright to children, and the client would have access to everything he owned until the day he died. But Mulhern uses the technique to make sure any amount over the exemption when the client died would go into a testamentary charitable lead trust.

Charity or Uncle Sam?

“The idea is that for a certain period of time, the income from that lead trust would go to a charity,” Mulhern explains. “At the end of that term, it would come back to the family.” If clients didn’t fund charitable giving, the “government would need to impose more programs.”

In a website video, she jokes that the technique — though perfectly legal — has a feel of being “a little like laundering your money from the federal government” and that if you “give enough away, in terms of the income from this trust, for a long enough period of time, the IRS says, ‘You know it can come back to your family, tax-free.’”

Mulhern is a specialist on avoiding the cost and delay of probate through the use of revocable trusts, and how to minimize federal estate tax by effective use of the federal estate tax exemption and other techniques. She promotes the proper place for family limited partnerships, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor-retained annuity trusts and conservation easements. She says a good estate planning “team” involves financial advisers, an insurance agent, an accountant, an attorney, a trust officer and others.

Mulhern received a law degree in 1982 from Cornell Law School. She is a founding partner in Mulhern & Scott PLLC, where her husband is also a lawyer. She concentrates in “sophisticated estate planning techniques and represents some of the most prominent families,” according to the practice website. She is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and was listed as one of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Lawyers in America.” A few of her clients include American Skandia Financial Planning Association, H.D. Vest, Liberty Mutual, Merrill Lynch and Metropolitan Life Insurance.

In 1997, Mulhern founded Estate Planning to Die For, a national speaking agency. She has appeared on CBS MarketWatch and in the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswire.

Here are other seminar times, topics, and speakers:

Small grains

Feb. 19

• 9 a.m. — Protein and nitrogen study results and introduction to a web-based tool for varietal selection — Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University extension agronomist.

• 9:40 a.m. — Don’t Get Caught with your Plants Down — Diseases to watch for in 2014 — Madeleine Smith, University of Minnesota, Crookston, Extension Service plant pathologist.

• 10:20 a.m. — Herbicide Resistance — Phillip Glogoza, U of M Extension agronomist, Moorhead.

• 11 a.m. — Farm Management Strategies for Innovative Producers — Bret Oelke, U of M Extension.

Feb. 20

• 9 a.m. — Sense Versus Nonsense: Tissue Testing Wheat and Sulfur Response in Wheat and Corn Production — David Franzen, NDSU Extension soils specialist.

• 9:40 a.m. — Making Sense of Sensors: Remote Sensing and In-field Sensing — John Nowatzki, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer.

• 10:20 a.m. — Spray Tip Selection: What you need to know before you buy — David Nicolai, U of M Extension Service.

• 11 a.m. — Marketing the 2013 and 2014 Crops: A glance into the Crystal Ball — Frayne Olson, NDSU Extension Service marketing economist.

Soybeans, dry beans and corn

Feb. 19

• 9 a.m. — High-Oleic Soybeans: What Growers Should Know — Jared Hagert, Emerado, N.D.

• 9:40 a.m. — Implications of Ghost Salinity on Cropping Systems — Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension soils specialist.

• 10:20 a.m. — Grain Storage and Management — Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension agricultural engineering.

• 11 a.m. — Getting a Handle on Corn Diseases in North Dakota — Andrew Friskop, NDSU Extension plant pathology.

Feb. 20

• 9 a.m. — Historic and Projected Gains in Edible Bean in the U.S. — Juan Osorno, NDSU Extension Service.

• 9:40 a.m. — Soybean/Dry Bean Marketing — Frayne Olson, NDSU.

• 10:20 a.m. — Soybean and Dry Bean Update — Sam Markell, NDSU Extension Service plant pathology.

• 11 a.m. — Farm Bill Update — Dwight Aakre, NDSU Extension farm management.


Feb. 19

• 9 a.m. — National Potato Council — John Keeling, executive vice president, CEO.

• 9 a.m. — U.S. Potato Board Update — Blair Richardson, president and CEO; Eric Halverson, co-chair of International Marketing Committee.

• 10:20 a.m. — United Potato Growers of America — Jerry Wright, CEO.

• 10:50 a.m. — Bringing Innate Potatoes to Market — Jolyn Rasmussen, J.R. Simplot Co.

• 11:15 a.m. — Chloropicrin Soil Fumigation Programs for Potato Production — Chad Hutchinson, TriEst Ag Group Inc.

• 11:40 a.m. — New Approach to Increased Payable Yield in Potatoes with Rejuvenate — Tom Larsen, Ralph Fredrick, AmVac Chemical Corp.

Feb. 20

• 9 a.m. — North Dakota Certified Seed Report — Willem Schrage, North Dakota State Seed Department.

• 9:30 a.m. — Minnesota Certified Seed Report — Jeff Miller, Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

• 10 a.m. — Why was bacterial soft rot a problem in 2013? — Gary Secor, NDSU plant pathologist.

• 10:40 a.m. — It’s Time to do Something Different with Ring Rot Control — Neil Gudmestad, NDSU plant pathologist.

• 11:10 a.m. — Better Adjuvants for Better Weed Control — Richard Zollinger, NDSU Extension weed specialist.

• 11:40 a.m. — Understanding Potato Growth and Development and How it Affects Management Practices — Mike Thornton, University of Idaho.