When it comes to estate planning, there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution. That is especially true after an election. However, there are several factors including estate and gift taxes that should be considered and discussed with your estate planning attorney, as recommended in this recent article from The National Law Review “Top Ten Estate Planning Recommendations before the End of 2020.” This is a good time to review your plan.
The estate, gift and generational-skipping transfer tax exemption is now $11.58 million per person. It’s scheduled to increase every year by an inflationary indexed amount through 2025 and in 2026 will revert to $5 million. If, as it appears, Biden wins the election, it is possible that changes could be made sooner, but at this point, with control of the Senate likely to remain the same, quick changes are unlikely. But this is a good time for tax planning. The IRS has already said that if the exemption is used this year, there will be no claw back. This is a “use it or lose it” scenario. If you are planning on using it, now is the time to do so.
It is possible that Discounts, GRATS, Grantor Trusts and other estate planning techniques may go away, depending upon who wins the control of Congress. Consider taking advantage of commonly used estate planning tools before it is too late.
Married couples who are not ready to gift significant amounts to their children or to put assets into trusts for their children should consider the SLAT–Spousal Lifetime Access Trust. They can create and gift the exemption amount to a SLAT and still maintain access to the assets.
Single individuals who similarly are not ready to make large gifts and give up access to assets may also create and gift an exemption amount to a trust in a jurisdiction based on “domestic asset protection trust” legislation. They can be a beneficiary of such a trust.
Interest rates are at an all-time low, and that is when tools like intra family loans, GRATs and GLATs are at their best.
Moving to Florida, Nevada, Texas and other low- or no-income tax states has become very popular, especially for people who can work remotely. Be aware that high tax states like New York and California are not going to let your tax revenue leave easily. Check with your estate planning attorney to make sure you’re following the rules in giving up your domicile in a high-income tax state.
Reference: The National Law Review (Oct. 6, 2020) “Top Ten Estate Planning Recommendations before the End of 2020”