Are Adjustment Clauses in Disclaimers Void as Against Public Policy?
In a 2009 Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Estate of Christiansen v. Commissioner,1 the issue of fractional or formula disclaimers was raised, with the Eighth Circuit confronted with the assertion by the Internal Revenue Service that “. . . such disclaimers should be categorically disqualified as against public policy.”2 The case involved the estate of a South Dakota rancher who had implemented a rather novel estate plan prior to her death.3 The appellate court upheld a bequest of property to a charitable foundation as a result of the daughter’s disclaimer in an amount that reflected the increased valuation of the property included in the gross estate.4