Brown v. United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
329 F.3d 664 (2003)
Willet Brown expected to die before his wife, Betty Brown. As part of his estate planning, Willet drafted his will to provide that his entire estate be placed in a marital trust. Willet’s wife, Betty, would be the income beneficiary of the trust, and upon her death, the remainder would go to their heirs. Willet expected that Betty’s estate would incur substantial estate taxes upon her death. In order to provide the heirs with the means to pay those taxes, Willet created an insurance trust. The trust was to hold policies on Betty’s life that would pay out enough money to cover any estate taxes. The life-insurance policies would be a taxable gift from Willet and Betty to the insurance trust. Betty and Willet elected, pursuant to statutory law, to be jointly liable for the gift taxes. Because gift taxes paid within three years of a decedent’s death were included in the decedent’s gross estate, and because Betty was more likely than Willet to live at least three more years, the couple wanted Betty, not Willet, to pay the gift taxes. Betty did not have enough money on her own, so Willet made a nontaxable marital gift to Betty of the cash necessary to pay the gift tax, which Betty then paid. Willet, as expected, died within three years of this transaction. Willet’s estate (plaintiff) did not indicate any liability for estate tax on the gift taxes Betty paid. The Internal Revenue Service attributed Betty’s payment of the gift taxes to Willet and issued a deficiency. The estate brought suit in district court and lost. The estate appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Berzon, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 711,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 711,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.