The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a trust tax case that has significant implications for states and trust beneficiaries. A Hope College graduate, Raj A. Malviya ’02, was part of a prestigious group of eight other national trust and estate experts who drafted and filed the amicus brief. He attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. on April 16.
The question posed in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. the Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust is: Does the due process clause prohibit states from taxing trusts based on trust beneficiaries’ in-state residency? Hundreds of millions of dollars of annual tax revenue hang in the balance.
Raj’s involvement is remarkable, considering he is at a relatively early point in his career. However, for those that know him, they aren’t surprised.
Raj has been practicing law since 2005, focusing on estate and tax planning. Today he is a partner at Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, MI. He is well versed in all aspects of planning for families with foreign ties as well as working with clients like business owners, licensed professionals, film and music artists, public figures and diplomats.
He is involved in a number of professional associations, including the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, and several sections with the Grand Rapids Bar Association. He is also a member of the Society of Trusts & Estates Professionals. In 2014, he was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Council and was selected from among many qualified candidates across the country to be a Fellow in the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.
Raj is a fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a group of peer-elected trust and estate attorneys from across the United States and abroad. His previous involvement with this group includes being selected as a member of the ACTEC Foundations Young Leaders Program. In 2017, he was elected a fellow by their Board of Regents.
As an advocate for diversity, he was also the co-founder and past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Michigan and served as the Michigan Liaison to the North American South Asian Bar Association where he helped form their Tax Section made up of attorneys, educators, law students and other professionals. In addition, he is an alumnus of the Fellows Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
In 2016, Raj was one of West Michigan’s young professionals honored by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in their “40 Under Forty.”
Prior to this prestigious start to his career and true to a liberal arts background, Raj was a biology and business administration major at Hope College. He was also a member of the Omicron Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the men’ tennis team on which he held a 55-22 career record in singles and a 46-18 career record in doubles.
After Hope, he went on to earn his LL.M. in Taxation from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and his JD from Valparaiso University School of Law.
This trust income tax case is already getting national attention from a variety of media outlets including Forbes and Bloomberg.
For his part, Raj had this to say about the experience, “It was a privilege to collaborate with national experts on the ACTEC brief. The fiduciary income tax nexus rules across the states are nowhere close to being uniform and vary considerably in scope. Our goal was to provide education to the Court and focus the issues that govern this complex area of tax law. We felt that our brief made a meaningful impact in the case.”
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