Elaine Gagliardi

Dean | Professor

Personal Summary

Professor Gagliardi teaches Business OrganizationsBusiness TransactionsEstate Planning,: Wills and TrustsTaxation of Estates and Gifts, and Tax Exempt Organizations.  She also serves as a clinic faculty supervisor for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, University of Montana General Counsel, Associated Students of Montana State University (ASMSU) and United States Department of Agriculture Office of General Counsel.  Gagliardi has served in a range of administrative capacities, including Associate Dean of Academic Affairs from 2007 through 2010, Interim Clinic Director from 2010 through 2011 and Associate Dean of Students from 2015 through 2017.  She currently co-directs the law school’s Montana Tax Institute held each October and served as its director from 2012 through 2019.

Professor Gagliardi is the 2017 recipient of the George M. Dennison Presidential Faculty award.  Elected by her peers practicing in the respective fields of law, she is Academic Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American College of Tax Counsel.  She currently serves as Montana State Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.  Gagliardi is a past chair of the Business, Estates, Trust, Tax and Real Estate Section of the State Bar of Montana.

She authors two treatises in the area of estate and gift taxation including Clark and Gagliardi,  How to Save Time and Taxes Handling Estates (Lexis Nexis), Burke, Friel, Gagliardi, Modern Estate Planning, 2nd Ed. She also co-authors with Professor James Delaney the Question and Answers Series book on Estate and Gift Taxation 3rd Ed. (Carolina Academic Press 2020).  Professor Gagliardi presents regularly at national tax conferences and has spoken at the Portland Tax Forum, the Seattle Estate Planning Seminar, the ABA Mid-Year Section of Taxation Meeting, and the Tulane Tax Institute among others.

Prior to teaching, Professor Gagliardi practiced in the areas of estate, business and tax planning with the law firms of Perkins Coie, Seattle, Washington, and Day, Berry & Howard, Hartford, Connecticut, now Day Pitney.  She also was Of Counsel to George Law Offices, Missoula, Montana, where she obtained an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell.  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.  Professor Gagliardi earned her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law, receiving the Harry J. Ruddick award for distinction in the graduate tax program and serving on the New York Tax Law Review as a graduate editor.  She holds her J.D. with high honors from the University of Montana School of Law, where she also served on the editorial board of the Montana Law Review.  She received a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.


LL.M. in Taxation, New York University

J.D., The University of Montana School of Law

B.A. in Economics, Yale University.



How to Save Time and Taxes Handling Estates (LexisNexis)(current author, previously authored by Clark), updated bi-annually.

Modern Estate Planning (2d ed., LexisNexis 2003) (co-author with J. Martin Burke & Michael Friel), updated tri-annually.

Question and Answers Federal Estate and Gift Taxation,3d Ed. (Carolina Academic Press 2020), co-authored with J. Delaney


Professor Gagliardi’s most recent articles include:

Gagliardi, The Family Limited Partnership in 2018: Powell, Cahill and Income Tax Basis, Federal Tax Journal Quarterly 1 (December 2018, LexisNexis)

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Amendments to Federal Estate, Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes, published as part of LexisNexis Explanation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (January 2018)

Anticipating Change and Responding to Recent Wealth Transfer Tax Developments, Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly 1 (Sept. 2017, LexisNexis)

Consistent Basis Reporting:  Are Proposed Regulations Consistent with Congress's Basis for Enactment?, Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly (Lexis September 2016)

The Magical Power of Appointment: Allows Trustor to Achieve Targeted Tax Consequences and Flexibility of Control, Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly 1.01 (March 2016)

Proving Estate and Gift Tax Value: Evolving Lessons from Recent Cases, Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly 2.01 (September 2015)

Flipping the Lens of Estate Planning: An Examination of the Effectiveness of Lifetime Transfers to Achieve Federal and State Tax Savings, 2014 Lexis Federal Tax Journal Quarterly, § 2.01 et. Seq. (Matthew Bender)

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).

Elaine Gagliardi on Appeals Settlement Guidelines for Family Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies, LexisNexis Expert Commentaries (Feb 29, 2008)

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).