STRATEGIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 2012 ESTATE PLANNING OPPORTUNITIES
The window of opportunity to make large gifts in a tax-efficient manner is scheduled to close at the end of this year. Perhaps you are already considering making significant gifts this year or are being advised by your friends, family members or advisers to make these gifts before it is "too late" to do so come 2013. The discussion below summarizes why 2012 may provide a special opportunity to make large gifts and planning options that take into account some related issues.
The 2012 opportunity
The current federal estate and gift tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax exemption for each individual is $5,120,000 (resulting in up to $10,240,000 of exemption for married couples). Absent congressional action, on January 1, 2013, the estate and gift tax exemptions are scheduled to revert to $1,000,000 and the GST exemption is scheduled to be about $1,400,000. In addition, in 2013 the current top transfer tax rates of 35 percent would increase to 55 percent. Of course, there are other possible legislative outcomes. The bottom line is that if the gift, estate and GST exemptions in future years are, in fact, less than the current $5,120,000, making large gifts before the current law sunsets at the end of the year may provide significant estate tax savings later.
What if you are not sure you want to give away so much of your wealth?
You will want to take many factors into consideration in deciding how much you can afford to give away and, just as important, would be comfortable giving away. Below are several strategies that may increase your level of comfort in making large gifts in 2012.
What if your disposable assets are not the "ideal" type to use to make gifts?
There is no single type of asset that is the best to use in making gifts in all contexts. Gifts of cash are easy to make, are easy to value and have no built-in appreciation. But what if your disposable assets consist largely of low-basis stock? Or if your assets are illiquid, as may be the case if a significant portion of your net worth consists of real estate, works of art or a family business? In such a case, you may wish to consider one of the following strategies.
What if you are afraid of having "too much" end up in the hands of your children?
For any number of reasons, you may feel inheriting more than a certain amount of property could be detrimental to your children and their own families, and you may have qualms about making gifts of the full 2012 gift tax exemption amount of $5,120,000 (or $10,240,000 for married couples). While you need to decide what will be right for your family, there are several ways to address this concern using a trust.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss making gifts before the end of the year.
President Obama's budget plan for fiscal year 2013, released in February of this year, proposes a number of changes to the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax laws. Although many of the changes have been proposed in the past without being enacted, these proposals are likely to be among the items under consideration as Congress contemplates the looming increase in federal transfer taxes next year. The following summarizes the key proposals in the budget plan:
These proposals have not yet been introduced as legislation and would not take effect until next year, so no immediate action is necessary. However, if you have not updated your estate planning documents in the past few years, this may be an appropriate time for a more comprehensive review of your estate plan to ensure that it still meets your estate planning needs and objectives.
Warren Whitaker will be Program Chair of the 13th Annual International Estate Planning Institute at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in New York, NY.
Amy Lonergan co-authored an article, "Digital assets have more value than we think," published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Jed Davis authored an article, "Cybersecurity for Family Offices," for Trusts & Estates.
Warren Whitaker was a featured speaker at an event called "CLE - Cross-Border Estate Planning," which was sponsored by the Trusts & Estates Section of the Boston Bar Association.
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Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney Press Release
Day Pitney LLP was named 'Law Firm of the Year' by Family Wealth Report at its 2017 Awards Ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.
David Silvian was quoted in an article, "Awash with uncertainty, advisers scramble to prepare for potential tax overhaul," published in Private Asset Management.
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