"We know the estate tax is coming back, so you want to move assets out," said Andrew Friedman, in a recent Reuter's acticle, the former senior tax partner at Washington law firm Covington & Burling. "This is a good year to give away assets to children and grandchildren."
If you have been following our blog, you know that in 2010 the federal estate tax disappeared for the first time since Teddy Roosevelt was president. But 2010 ends in five months and without some action from Congress before the end of the year, the federal estate tax is slated to return on January 1, 2011 at the rate of 55% on estates over $1 million.
Practically, what does all that mean for you and your family? It means that you have an opportunity right now to minimize taxes and protect your estate through a comprehensive strategy of tax-free gifts, intra-family loans and trusts. With the estate tax coming back, and with a vengeance, as early as next year, planning is critical. Now is the time to act, with interest rates and asset values at historic lows, making certain wealth transfer techniques (such as GRATs and charitable lead trusts) even more attractive.
You protect yourself from more than the estate tax by acting this year - gift taxes, currently set at 35%, are set to bounce back up to 55% next year and, capital gains taxes are expected to rise.
If you would like to explore options to protect your family and estate, it is critical to act now. We are now moving into fall, and unless Congress moves quickly and decisively, some of these windows of opportunity will close with the return of the federal estate tax on January 1, 2011.
To learn more about your advanced estate tax and retirement planning opportunities, view our advanced, estate, tax and retirement video page for information on how to reduce a 70% tax on your retirement accounts and leave more of a legacy for your children and grandchildren.