Scott D. Ross
Scott D. Ross is a partner in Rimon’s Private Client group. He is a Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law as determined by the California Board of Legal Specialization. This designation is held by fewer than 3% of California estate planning attorneys.
Mr. Ross specializes in estate planning for high net worth individuals, including entrepreneurs, executives, owners of closely-held businesses, real estate developers and physicians. His practice emphasizes wealth preservation and asset protection. Mr. Ross works with clients to prepare customized estate plans involving generation-skipping trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, family limited partnerships, family limited liability companies, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), irrevocable insurance trusts, and private family foundations. He has extensive experience in legal issues involving federal estate, gift and generation-skipping taxation. A few examples of Mr. Ross’s work are as follows:
- Created irrevocable trusts for the 3 children of a company founder that each qualified for an additional $10 million Qualified Small Business Stock (“QSBS”) exclusion, and that defer California state income tax. So altogether, the family had $40 million of QSBS exclusion. When the company liquidity event occurred, the family paid no federal capital gains tax on $40 million of gain, and the children’s irrevocable trusts paid no California state income tax. If trust distributions are made to the children at a later time when they are California residents, then the California state income tax will be paid at that time on the amount distributed. Until the time of the distribution, the entire trust will grow free of California state income tax, much like an IRA for California tax purposes. And the amount not distributed will continue to grow free of California state income tax. If distributions are made to the children at a later time when they are not California residents, then no California state income will be paid on these distributions.
- Developed a strategy to transfer $75 million of family legacy real estate to a dynasty trust without incurring gift tax, and fully covered by generation-skipping tax exemption. The dynasty trust will protect that real estate from estate tax, creditor claims and divorce claims in perpetuity.
- Worked with venture capital partners to transfer carried interests to irrevocable children's trusts at the beginning of the fund when those interests were of modest value, and watched those interests grow in value to more than $10 million, thereby transferring significant wealth while using minimal gift tax exemption.
- Developed multiple term of years flip charitable remainder trust strategy to hold extensive position in large public company that was a possible hostile acquisition target, so that client could (a) benefit the client's private foundation when he chose by terminating one or more of the trusts early in whole or in part; (b) get the stock into a structure which would avoid capital gains tax on a sudden forced sale in a hostile acquisition; and (c) still give the client the right to cash flow from one or more of the trusts if he decided he needed it, by triggering the flip mechanism.
Mr. Ross uses a values-based planning approach, working with clients to structure plans that focus on inherited wealth having a positive effect on their heirs, and on leaving a legacy in the broadest sense of the word. Scott also assists surviving spouses, children, successor trustees, and executors in the administration of trusts and estates following a death. Mr. Ross has been recognized for his accomplishments by Best Lawyer in America in trusts and estates from 2006 to 2020.