The window for historical estate planning exclusions is open… for now.
On December 22nd, President Donald Trump signed the 2017 Tax Reform Act into law doubling the estate and gift exclusion, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) exemption amounts. This is the most significant tax reform since 1986.
How the 2017 Tax Reform Act Affects Your Estate Planning Strategies
The 2017 Tax Reform Act doubles the lifetime gift and estate exclusion (The 2018 Unified Exemption) and GST tax exemption from $5 million to $10 million with the intention of adjusting for inflation. However, in 2026, the lifetime gift and estate exclusion and GST tax exemption drop back to their base amount of $5 million.
If you accept the fact that taxes are political, and that politics are cyclical, then it follows that the estate tax is indeed likely to be reduced at some point in the future. Indeed, as recently as 1997 under the Clinton Administration the estate tax was level was just $600,000. For those who follow football more than politics, that was when Tom Brady was a QB at Michigan.
While the 2018 Unified Exemption is slated to sunset in 2026, the exemption is vulnerable to change.
The time to take advantage of the new 2017 Tax Reform Act exemptions is now.
Lifetime Gift and Estate Exclusion and GST Tax Exemption Amounts: Then and Now
Before the 2017 Tax Reform Act
The inflationary adjustments in the new tax law increase the base $5 million to $5.49 million for the tax year 2017. Before the Act, the 2018 exclusion amount was set at $5.6 million for inflationary adjustments. The estate, gift, and GST tax rates are 40%.
After the 2017 Tax Reform Act
Doubling the base exclusion amount to $10 million while adding the adjustment for inflation increases the lifetime gift and estate exclusion and GST exemption to a staggering $11.2 million for the tax year 2018. The amount doubles for married couples to $22.4 million. The estate, gift, and GST tax rates remain at 40%.
With a historical combination of events, the 2017 Tax Reform Act creates a window of opportunity in the estate planning arena:
- Tax exemptions double the $5.6 million in 2017 to $10.98 million in 2018 per person (not per household)
- New exemptions are scheduled to sunset back to $5 million in 2026
- Ability to combine the new exemption increases with existing discounting methods available under IRS 2704
To put into perspective how historically advantageous the new estate tax laws are, in 2001 (less than 20 years ago) the estate tax exclusion amount was $675,000 with a maximum tax rate of 55%. Bumping the estate tax exclusion amount to over $11 million holding a maximum federal estate tax rate of 40% makes reviewing your existing estate planning strategies to leverage the new laws prudent and necessary.
Especially Advantageous In Nevada
The 2018 Tax Reform Act carries massive impacts on estate planning and highlights the advantages of Nevada as a situs for your trust. With a substantial demographic wave now heading into retirement, estate planning is on the minds of many Americans. And, they have just been presented with a unique, temporary opportunity to leverage Nevada Trust Laws for even more significant family benefits.
Gifts into a Nevada Dynasty Trust for your family can grow outside of your estate now and for generations to come. An added advantage is Nevada’s ironclad asset protection laws. Nevada Asset Protection protects your assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors when properly structured.