tax/estate planning

Michael H. Godwin Schell Bray Aycock Abel & Livingston PLLC, Greensboro

I would love to be a CIA agent. Like practicing law, it would involve problem solving, attention to detail and having to be resourceful.

Vita: Born Jan. 9, 1949, in Dunn; bachelor’s and law degrees from UNC Chapel Hill; wife, two sons and three grandchildren. Why he chose this field: The Tax Reform Act of 1976 reinvented the federal estate- and gift-tax system, and my firm needed someone to focus on it. Memorable case: In 1988, a man came to see me who had terminal cancer. He wanted to leave his assets to his ex-wife and their three grown children. I told him that if they remarried, he could leave the assets in a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust for her lifetime, with one of their children as trustee. Their children would get the assets at her death. They were remarried, and the client died within a few months. Shortly thereafter, the trustee and his mother began to bicker. The wife actually sued her son for breach of fiduciary duty. This case taught me that even considerable tax savings cannot drive the plan. Family dynamics should not be overlooked. Passions: My grandchildren, Carolina sports, trying to stay somewhat fit. Recent reading: The Last Child by John Hart. Favorite place: The south end of Litchfield Beach. Hero: Ronald Reagan. Don’t ask him to: Watch a weeknight sitcom that has the canned laughter.

Tax/Estate planning

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