Estate Planning

The changing tax environment is an excellent opportunity to review your estate planning objectives and reality. While many of the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are expiring after 2025, the basics and benefits of planning never expire.

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Estate Planning Opportunities

There are many ways to make your estate plan more complete and ensure every need is addressed.

Life insurance and Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs) are methods of solving extra needs which normal estate planning benefits don’t account for. Plus, the new, higher gift exemption allows for increased funding of life insurance policies.

Dynasty trusts allow wealth to be excluded from transfer taxes over multiple generations with the generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT) exclusion. These trusts can own life insurance and other assets.

Valuation discounts, or minority interest discounts, can allow you to gift minority interests of closely held entities subject to transfer restrictions. “Lack of control” and “lack of marketability” discounts may be applied to decrease the fair market value of the gift.

Business, farm or ranch assets may comprise the majority of your estate. When some children participate in the business or operations and others do not, life insurance may offer an opportunity to provide a fair division of assets, while making sure that control and ownership remain with the children working in the business.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs) are popular wealth-transfer tools that are often used to provide funding for exit strategies from premium financing and split-dollar life insurance programs. You may want to consider GRATs with durations of 2-8 years.

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