Education and Honors

  • J.D. (cum laude), Baylor Law School, 1986
    Order of Barristers
    Phi Alpha Delta
  • B.B.A., accounting, Texas A&M University, 1982
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 U.S., 2013

    Recognized by Best Lawyers as “2012 Houston Litigation-Trusts & Estates, Lawyer of the Year”

    Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2007-2013

    Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer, 2003-2013

    Recognized as a “Leader in the Field” for Tax Litigation by Chambers USA, 2007-2011, 2014

    Recognized for Wealth Management by Chambers USA, 2010-2014

    Recipient of the AEP (Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner) award of the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils

Admissions and Affiliations

Board Certified in Probate, Trust, and Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

State Bar of Texas, Section 4-E Grievance Committee, former Chairman

United States Supreme Court

United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits

United States Court of Federal Claims

United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas

United States Tax Court

American Bar Association, Tax Section and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section; Supervisory Council Member; Tax, Litigation and Controversy Committee, Former Chairman

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow and former Regent

Houston Bar Association

John W. Porter

Partner

One Shell Plaza
910 Louisiana Street
Houston, Texas 77002-4995
United States
Phone:
+1.713.229.1597
Fax:
+1.713.229.2797

Concentration

Litigation, including gift, estate and income tax disputes; valuation of business interests; fiduciary issues

Summary

John Porter is a Senior Partner and Partner-In-Charge of the Houston Office who handles federal gift, estate and income tax litigation and controversy work, including disputes and litigation with the Internal Revenue Service. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in representing taxpayers before and against the IRS in estate and gift tax controversies, especially those involving hard-to-value assets such as interests in family limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

Mr. Porter has served as lead counsel for taxpayers in numerous cases in the United States Tax Court, the Court of Federal Claims, United States District Courts and Courts of Appeals. He also has represented taxpayers in numerous other federal tax audits and administrative appeals. He frequently advises and represents fiduciaries and beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to administration and fiduciary duty issues.

Mr. Porter is a Fellow and a former Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Representative Tax Litigation Engagements

  • Estate of Anne Y. Petter – successful defense of taxpayer in case of first impression involving gift/sale of LLC units to family and charity using a dollar value formula based on values as “finally determined for federal gift tax purposes.” (Estate of Petter v. Comm’r, 98 T.C.M. (CCH) 534 (2009), aff’d, 653 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. Aug. 4, 2011))
  • Hendrix – successful defense of taxpayer in case regarding the tax effect of a gift of corporate stock made by way of a dollar-based defined value formula (Hendrix v. Comm’r, T.C. Memo 2011-133 (June 15, 2011))
  • Estate of Charles H. Murphy, Jr. – successful $42 million estate tax refund suit involving numerous valuation issues and IRS attempt to ignore limited partnership under I.R.C. § 2036 (Estate of Murphy v. United States, No. 07-CV-1013, 2009 WL 3366099 (W.D. Ark. Oct. 2, 2009))
  • Estate of Black – successful defense of estate against IRS attempt to apply § 2036 to ignore family limited partnership for estate tax purposes. (Estate of Samuel P. Black Jr., et al. v. Comm’r, 133 T.C. No. 15 (Dec. 14, 2009))
  • Estate of Helen Christiansen – successful defense of estate in case of first impression regarding tax effect of partial disclaimer of limited partnership interest to charity made by way of a dollar value formula based on values “as finally determined for estate tax purposes.” (Estate of Christiansen v. Comm’r, 130 T.C. No. 1 (2008), aff’d, 586 F.3d 1061 (8th Cir. 2009))
  • Estate of Frazier Jelke, III – successful Eleventh Circuit appeal and reversal of a Tax Court decision regarding the application of a dollar-for-dollar unrealized capital gains tax when determining the value of stock in a C corporation (Estate of Jelke III v. Comm’r, 507 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 2007))
  • Litman/Diener – successful representation of clients in a case involving lack of marketability discount to be applied in valuing restricted stock (Litman, et al. v. United States, 78 Fed. Cl. 90 (2007))
  • Succession of Charles T. McCord, Jr. – successful defense of the taxpayer in a case of first impression regarding the tax effect of a gift of limited partnership interests made by way of a dollar-based defined value formula (Succession of McCord v. Comm’r, 461 F.3d 614 (5th Cir. 2006))
  • Estate of Charles Porter Schutt – successful defense of the estate against IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. §§ 2036 and 2038 and ignore the existence of two Delaware Business Trusts for estate tax purposes (Estate of Schutt v. Comm’r, 89 T.C.M. (CCH) 1353 (2005))
  • Estate of Wayne C. Bongard – successful defense of the estate against IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. § 2036 to ignore the existence of a limited liability company for estate tax purposes (Estate of Bongard v. Comm’r, 124 T.C. 95 (2005))
  • Estates of Eugene and Allene R. Stone – successful defense of the estate against IRS attempt to apply I.R.C. § 2036 to ignore the existence of five family limited partnerships (Stone v. Comm’r, 86 T.C.M (CCH) 551 (2003))
  • Estate of Joseph R. Coulter – successful defense of the estate against an IRS assertion of a $113 million estate tax deficiency in a Tax Court case involving the first-time application of I.R.C. § 2036(b) (T.C. Docket No. 17458-99)
  • Estate of Nellie Segerstrom – successful representation of the estate in federal district court in response to an IRS summons of attorney-client privileged documents, and defense of the estate in Tax Court in an $18 million dispute with the IRS regarding the estate tax value of real estate partnerships (Segerstrom v. United States, 87 A.F.T.R.2d 2001-1153 (N.D. Cal. 2001))
  • Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers – successful defense of taxpayers in a Tax Court case involving an IRS challenge to the gift tax value of family limited partnership interests (T.C. Docket No. 011557-98)
  • Estate of A.D. Davis – successful defense of the estate against the IRS in a case where the Tax Court first recognized the “unrealized capital gains discount” when valuing stock in a C-corporation (Davis v. Comm’r, 110 T.C. 530 (1998))
  • Estate of Beatrice Dunn – successful Fifth Circuit appeal and reversal of a Tax Court decision regarding the valuation of a closely held corporation (Dunn v. Comm’r, 301 F.3d 339 (5th Cir. 2002))
  • Estate of Jimmie T. Drewry – successful representation against an IRS assertion of a $30 million estate tax deficiency in a Tax Court case involving recognition of private annuities and value of interests in a family limited partnership owning broadcast properties (T.C. Docket No. 10328-00)
  • Baine P. and Mildred Kerr – successful defense of taxpayers in a Tax Court and Fifth Circuit appeal of a case of first impression where the IRS attempted to apply I.R.C. § 2704(b) in valuing an interest in a family limited partnership for gift tax purposes (Kerr v. Comm’r, 292 F.3d 490 (5th Cir. 2002))
  • Estate of Jameson – successful representation in a Tax Court trial and Fifth Circuit appeal of a case involving an unrealized capital gains discount when valuing stock in a closely held C-corporation (Jameson v. Comm’r, 267 F.3d 366 (5th Cir. 2001))

Representative Fiduciary Litigation Engagements

  • Estate of Jake Kamin – summary judgment obtained on behalf of The Jake and Nina Kamin Foundation regarding construction of the provisions of Mr. Kamin’s will (In the Estate of Jake Kamin, Deceased, Probate Court No. 2 of Harris County Texas, Cause No. 399,104-401)
  • Loya v. Loya, et al. – successful representation of trustee in defense of breach of fiduciary duty claims regarding creation of trust and management of assets (In the Matter of the Marriage of Leticia B. Loya and Miguel Angel Loya, et al., Cause No. 2008-24514, Harris County, Texas, 257th Judicial District)
  • Estate of Theodore Bauer – successful defense of executor regarding claims that decedent made improper gifts of community property funds and breached fiduciary duties in managing community estate (Ruth Brouse Bauer, et al. vs. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Independent Executor, et al, Cause No. 348,876-401; in Probate Court No. 4 of Harris County, Texas)
  • Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Fernandez – successful representation of Foundation regarding claim of purported heir to set aside probate of decedent’s will and division of estate property (John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation v. Fernandez, 315 S.W.3d 515 (Tex. 2010))
  • Wood v. Victoria Bank & Trust – successful defense of fiduciary regarding attempts by trust beneficiaries to pursue class action breach of fiduciary duty claims related to trustee’s acquisition by merger of fiduciary accounts from Ameritrust, N.A. (Wood v. Victoria Bank & Trust Co., et al., 69 S.W.3d 235 (Tex. App. -- Corpus Christi 2001))
  • Farias v. Laredo National Bank – successful defense of trustee regarding breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by remainder beneficiaries of trust (Farias v. Laredo National Bank, 985 S.W. 2nd 796 (Tex. App. -- San Antonio 1997))
  • Finley v. Laredo National Bank – successful representation of trustee regarding claims of five beneficiaries concerning the management of trusts and a partnership that owned an 85,000 acre ranch and mineral interests (Finley, et al. v. The Laredo National Bank, District Court, Webb County, Texas)

Publications, Speeches and Presentations

Publications

  • “A Formula for Avoiding Transfer Tax Litigation?” Willamette Management Associates Insight, Autumn 2010
  • “Defined-Value Transfer Planning After McCord and Christiansen,” Probate & Property, September/October 2008 (Stephen T. Dyer, co-author)
  • H.V. Kohler, Jr.: Lessons From the Trenches in a Valuation Dispute,” Journal of Practical Estate Planning, October/November 2006
  • “Litigation of the Transfer Tax Dispute: Does the Forum Really Matter?” Journal of Practical Estate Planning, June/July 2006
  • “The Transfer Tax Audit: The Beginning of the Litigation Discovery Process,” Journal of Practical Estate Planning, February/March 2006
  • Strangi and Schutt: The Code Sec. 2036 Battles Continue,” Journal of Practical Estate Planning, October/November 2005
  • “FLP Wars Update,” Trusts & Estates, July 2005
  • W.C. Bongard Est.: The Entire Tax Court Weighs In on the Code Sec. 2036 Battles Regarding Family Limited Partnerships,” Journal of Practical Estate Planning, June/July 2005
  • “Buy-Sell Agreements: True Provision Does Not Control Value for Estate Tax Purposes,” CCH Business Valuation, Vol. 6, Issue No. 3, April 2005

Speeches and Presentations

Frequent speaker at tax and estate planning seminars for numerous organizations, including:

  • University of Miami Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning
  • Southern California Tax and Estate Planning Forum
  • New York University Institute on Federal Taxation
  • USC Gould School of Law Tax Institute
  • UCLA-CEB Estate Planning Institute
  • Great Western Tax and Estate Planning Conference
  • Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute
  • The University of Texas Annual Taxation Conference
  • Washington State Bar Association Annual Estate Planning Seminar