The U.S. is posed for a change in presidents. Does a new administration, however, mean that you need a new estate plan? With different presidents having such different agendas, the changes in laws on the horizon may mean that you should be mindful of keeping your estate plan as up to date as possible so that it continues to encapsulate the goals you have for the future.
During the Trump Administration, the estate and gift tax exemption increased first to 5.5 million and then to 11.58 million (now 11.7 million as of 2021) for an individual and 23.16 million (now 23.4 million as of 2021) for a married couple. While these increased exemptions are set to expire in 2025, the Biden Administration is expected to try reduce the estate tax to 3.5 million and the gift tax to 1 million, possibly before 2025. The estate and gift tax amount may also increase from forty to forty-five percent, and the step-us basis, which allows beneficiaries to avoid taxes on gains accumulated before a person’s death, may be eliminated.
With the real possibility that the Biden Administration could potentially reduce the estate and gift tax, high net-worth individuals may be considering making large gifts before this occurs. A first crucial step in assessing whether this is a wise tax strategy for you may be to review your overall financial picture. This will likely involve consulting your accountant or financial planner. How much money do you have? How much money do you need to live on? What are your anticipated tax liabilities? If you are the owner of a small business and are considering transferring the business, the business will require a thorough valuation.
Once you have a solid and detailed analysis of your finances, if gifting a large amount of your estate appears a manageable option, it may be time to consider how to make the gift. There is the possibility of an outright gift, but creating an irrevocable trust may also be a wise option as it can provide protection from your children’s creditors and divorcing spouses.
With these potential tax changes looming on the horizon, now may certainly be the time to review your current estate plan. Our office is here to help you make prudent financial decisions regarding gifting strategy and options for rewriting your estate plan. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.