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Legal Memorandum: Omissions in Estate Tax Returns

Issue: Whether there are valid legal reasons for omitting reference to potential claims from an estate tax return?

Area of Law: Government Claims, Real Estate Law, Tax Law
Keywords: Valid claim of estate; Inverse condemnation; Omitting reference to potential claims
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota
Cited Cases: 317 N.W.2d 352; 607 N.W.2d 168
Cited Statutes: Minn. Const. art. 1, § 13; Minnesota Practice Series, Real Estate Law, § 10.35
Date: 07/01/2005

One element of this issue is whether an Estate has a valid claim against governmental authorities for violation of the constitutional requirement that just compensation be paid for “takings” from private property owners. 

See Minn. Const. art. 1, § 13; City of Mankato v. Hilgers, 313 N.W.2d 610, 613 (Minn. 1981); McShane v. City of Faribault, 292 N.W.2d 253, 258-59 (Minn. 1980); Alevizos v. Metro. Airports Comm’n, 216 N.W.2d 651, 665 (Minn. 1974) (Alevizos I).  (Although the federal Constitution also prohibits uncompensated takings, the Minnesota constitutional provision is considered more favorable from the property owner’s perspective, and thus research focused almost entirely on Minnesota law.  See Comment, 7 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 781, 787 (1981)).

“Inverse condemnation” is “a cause of action against a governmental defendant to recover the value of property which has been taken in fact by the governmental defendant, even though no formal exercise of the power of eminent domain has been attempted by the taking agency.”  Johnson v. City of Minneapolis, 667 N.W.2d 109, 111 n.1 (Minn. 2003) (quoting Alevizos I, 216 N.W.2d at 657).  At least three separate, though related, inverse condemnation claims may be suggested.  First, both Hilgers and Alevizos I recognize that a property owner may have an inverse condemnation claim against a governmental airport authority by reason of airport operations, particularly overflights, in close proximity to the private property.  Alevizos I held that airplane noise and pollution may rise to the level of a “taking.”  216 N.W.2d at 661-62.  […]

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