States Compete to Shield Wealth of Richest Americans

From AllGov:





By Patricia Cohen, New York Times


LAS VEGAS — Steven J. Oshins, a Nevada lawyer who specializes in estate planning, has never met the wealthy software entrepreneur Dan Kloiber, but he is nonetheless intensely interested in Kloiber’s contentious divorce.


“I have had a Google news alert on that for a couple years,” Oshins said as he discussed the case from his office in a squat pink complex about a 20-minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. What animates Oshins is not the juicy marital feud, but the legal arcana governing a trust in Delaware where the Kloiber family parked assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sheltered from estate taxes.


Oshins, with a gleeful grin spreading across his face, relished the thought of the no-longer-beloved wife of Dan Kloiber busting through the trust and exposing a potential chink in the formidable trust protection armor promised by Delaware — which just happens to fiercely compete with Nevada for the lucrative business of shielding assets owned by the superrich.


Although most out-of-town visitors are drawn to the city’s roulette wheels and slot machines, Oshins and a battalion of tax lawyers, accountants, advisers, trust administrators and bankers cater to an elite clientele that insists on a much more reliable way to build a fortune.


With their backing, Nevada has stoked an aggressive rivalry among a smattering of states to baby-sit the wealth of the nation’s top 1 percent, pressing public officials to pass laws, streamline regulations, lower fees and replace DMV-level service with concierge treatment.


Yet even as more and more states seek ways to help the richest Americans protect their wealth from creditors, divorcing spouses and children, as well as some federal and state tax collectors, critics worry that the effort …

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