Use it or Lose It. Estate Planning Strategies Now! by David M. Datz, Esq.

GiftingI was on Jetblue this morning on my way home from a few days visiting my partner Jim’s mom.  This very outgoing ‘snowbird’ who splits her time between Boca and Boston struck up a conversation with us.  We eventually got to the ‘What do you do for a living” question and after ‘real estate’ and ‘estate planning’ law came out, these became the subjects of conversation for the duration of the flight.  Like many seniors she was concerned about preserving as much of her wealth as possible for her children and also having enough income to live the way she likes to live for the rest of her life. 

She wants her kids to benefit from her lifetime of savvy investments but is fearful that giving away her assets too early may cause her to have to depend on her kids.  She was obviously a very independent woman who is currently on her own. 

I gave her a short education on her ability to ‘gift’ up to 5 million dollars in assets that exceed the annual limit in your lifetime, before you start owing the gift tax  though the use of some relatively simple planning strategies.  Up to 5 million and no Gift tax?  Correct.

Although she was proud that she had done some planning, she was not familiar with the ‘gift’ that congress has given to all of us for the balance of the next two years.  I suggested that she call her estate planning attorney and inquire as to what her current options may be to obtain her goals.    

It is time to explore the benefits of gift planning before the expiration of this ‘two year window,’ i.e. before the expiration of the 2010 Tax Relief Act, which is scheduled to end on December 31, 2012.  Son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner; you can benefit any or all of them and possibly reduce or eliminate taxes to your estate.  You can give what you have to whom you want, and possibly not have taxes deplete your estate by missing this planning opportunity. 

GRATs, Grantor Trusts and Gifting, are buzzwords for the estate tax planning strategies that we are exploring with our clients NOW.  Unless congress passes a new tax bill, this $5 million dollar planning strategy opportunity will soon be history. We are currently advising our clients to whom these planning strategies may be beneficial to ‘use it or lose it.’  Will congress pass a new tax bill changing or extending these limits?  Will I lose 10 pounds by summer?  Who knows?  But I am planning my weight loss strategy now.  Why take the chance?  To explore whether these strategies may be right for your estate, give me a call or send me an email.   It would be my pleasure to have taken a part of preserving your legacy.  david@datzlawoffices.com

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