A greater number of people are becoming increasingly familiar with methods to reduce their personal income or estate tax liabilities. Nevertheless, the strategies for income and estate tax planning are still varied and nuanced, and thus should be regularly reviewed with professional advisors to determine the potential benefits will be fully reached.
Individuals and families with significant wealth, especially within non-liquid assets such as real estate or closely held businesses, may benefit from a range of more complicated strategies to efficiently transfer wealth and minimize the burdens of the estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax.
Examples of estate planning and valuation planning techniques, including family limited partnerships, sales to defective grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, personal residence trusts, dynasty trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and private foundations .
At the same time, many families and individuals without significant wealth may think that they do not have to plan for their estate or take any other action. Although their wealth may fall below the historically high $5,000,000 estate tax exemption (indexed for inflation), one should not overlook that taxes are just one facet of estate planning.
It is still critical to plan for an orderly transfer of assets or for unforeseen circumstances, such as incapacitation. Strategies to consider include proper beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and insurance contracts, wills, powers of attorney, health-care directives, and the utilization of revocable trusts.
The importance of proper estate planning for each and every individual cannot be emphasized enough. If you do not currently have an estate plan, or your current plan has not been recently reviewed, then you should make it a priority today.