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Elaine Hightower Gagliardi

Elaine Hightower Gagliardi

Professor of Law
Law 205

Professor Gagliardi teaches Business Organizations, Business TransactionsEstate Planning,: Wills and TrustsTaxation of Estates and Gifts, and Tax Exempt Organizations. She also serves as the faculty supervisor to two clinics, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and United States Department of Agriculture General Counsel.  Gagliardi served as Associate Dean from 2007 to 2010.  Beginning in 2012, she  serves as the Director of the law school’s Tax Institute.

Prior to teaching Professor Gagliardi practiced in the areas of estate planning, business planning and tax with the law firms of Perkins Coie, Seattle, Washington, and Day, Berry & Howard, Hartford, Connecticut. She clerked for The Honorable William J. Jameson, Senior Judge, United States District Court for Montana, and for the Honorable James R. Browning, then Chief Judge, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Attorneys, and is past chair of Business, Estates, Trust, Tax and Real Estate Section of the Montana State Bar Association.

Professor Gagliardi earned her LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law, where she received the Harry J. Ruddick award for distinction in the graduate tax program and served on the New York Tax Law Review as a graduate editor. She earned her J.D. from The University of Montana School of Law, and her B.A. from Yale University.


How to Save Time and Taxes Handling Estates (LexisNexis)(current author).

Modern Estate Planning (2d ed., LexisNexis 2003) (with J. Martin Burke & Michael Friel).

Question and Answers Federal Estate and Gift Taxation,2d Ed. (LexisNexis 2012)


Professor Gagliardi’s most recent articles include:

Treasury Transforms the Portability Election:  Making the DSUE Amount a Reliable Planning Tool,  Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly, Section 4 (September 2012) 

The Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion Amount:  Now You See It, Now You Don’t, Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly, Section 2 (June 2012).

Remembering the Creditor at Death: Aligning Probate and Nonprobate Transfers, 41 Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal 819 (2007).

Use of Marital Deduction Trusts Achieves Planning Goals, 104 Tax Notes 1043 (Aug. 27, 2004).

New Guidance on Annual Exclusion Gifts of Entity Interests, 2003 Tax Notes 156-24 (Aug. 13, 2003).

Strangi III: Right Answer Wrong Reason? Or, Just Plain Wrong?, 2003 Tax Notes 135-17 (July 14, 2003).

Economic Substance in the Context of Federal Estate and Gift Tax: The Internal Revenue Service Has It Wrong, 64 Mont. L. Rev. 389 (2003).


Professor Gagliardi’s recent speaking engagements include:

Federal Wealth Transfer Tax Update, Teaching Taxation Panel, ABA Section of Taxation Midyear Meeting (2005 - 2013).

Federal Wealth Transfer Tax Update, The University of Montana Tax Institute, Missoula, Montana (2005 – 2012).

Federal Gift and Estate Tax Section Panel, 2012 AALS Annual Meeting (Washington D.C.)


A Divided Tax Court Chooses to Recognize a Single Member LLC for Purposes of the Federal Gift Tax, <>