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Houston judge to decide on baseball owners estate tax case

No one wants their family members to have to deal with legal complications after they pass away. That's why so many people here in Texas and across the nation are so meticulous about their estate plans. Making sure that everything is handled properly and all applicable laws are followed is the best way to avoid legal messes that can arise after you're gone.

But sometimes even the best laid estate plans can run into speed bumps, especially when parties argue over the contents of the estate. We can see this exemplified by the high-profile case involving the family of the late Carl Pohland, former owner of the Minnesota Twins baseball team, and the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS claims that the estate of the deceased baseball team owner owes roughly $255.8 million dollars in estate taxes after it valuated his estate to worth nearly $293 million. But his family disagrees with this assessment and argues that Pohlad transferred most of his controlling shares of the baseball team to his sons. They believe that his estate's worth is closer to $24 million, meaning the estate tax amount the IRS is requesting would be lower.

But who is right? That's what a U.S. tax judge is going to have to figure out in a Houston courtroom this week. Both parties will have the opportunity to submit evidence that supports their claims, including statements from expert witnesses on the estate valuation process.

Though most of our readers do not own baseball teams or may not even have high-valued estates, this case highlights an important fact about estate probate: there is always a chance that litigation could occur. When this happens, it's best to get the help of a skilled lawyer who not only knows the law but can help you reach a resolution as well.

Source: The Star Tribune, "Pohlad estate-tax trial begins Monday in Houston," David Phelps, Sept. 29, 2014

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