39 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2007 Last revised: 27 Jul 2015
Anyone who has spent time in cyberspace understands the concept of an alter-ego. In on-line games, chat rooms and on the internet generally, users select one or more avatars to represent themselves. Avatars function as the end-user's alter-ego. The avatar may be a three-dimensional character in a multiplayer game or a two-dimensional icon on a bulletin board. This article uses the concept of avatars to explain the tax treatment of real-life alter-egos: agents under a power of attorney. Specifically, the article discusses (1) how traditional, standard legal instruments can be used to create legal alter-egos; (2) how and why these legal avatars receive favorable transfer tax treatment; (3) how uniform laws are changing to protect legal avatars; (4) whether new legislation will increase or decrease the use of legal avatars; and (5) how scholars might use the tax treatment of legal avatars to advocate for the favorable tax treatment of relationships that arise by choice.
Keywords: power of attorney, fiduciary, family, tax, gift, estate, wealth, critical tax, family law, elder law
JEL Classification: K34, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation