The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) doubled the estate tax exemption, which in 2021 is $11.7 million dollars. This exemption is set sunset in 2026, but due to the economy, it may substantially decrease as early as 2021 or 2022 to pre-2017 levels, adjusted for inflation.
Some gifting techniques you may want to discuss with an estate planning attorney:
- Direct Gifts of assets.
- Annual exclusion gifts, including $15,000 per recipient, medical and tuition gifts.
- Setting up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) to provide an inheritance for your descendants and minimizing estate taxes.
- Making a gift and/or sale to an Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust. The latter allows you to remove assets from your estate while maintaining an income stream.
- Using valuation discounts to transfer business interests.
- Creating a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) to remove assets out of your estate. The grantor gifts assets to an irrevocable trust and retains the right to an annuity for a specific term of years (not to exceed). At the end of the stated term of years, the remaining assets transfer to a trust for beneficiaries. Since you receive an annuity, the initial gift is either discounted or “zeroed out” thereby not counting toward your lifetime exemption amount.
- Establishing a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) – a trust which transfers a married person’s assets out of the couple’s estate yet allows the non-transferor spouse to be a lifetime beneficiary of the trust.
These are only a few techniques that could help you and your family capture the high federal estate tax exemption. We are happy to discuss estate planning methods to maximize wealth transfer between generations.