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Your Wealth Planning Opportunity… Scratch That, Imperative

Making the most of a gift horse


There is an old adage, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” The common interpretation of this idiom is that it is in poor taste to scrutinize a gift too closely; rather one should simply be grateful for the gift.

In 2010, American taxpayers received a timely and unexpected “gift” from the federal government — an opportunity to transfer wealth through the end of 2012 under a “relaxed” statute that presents expanded federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts; an expanded federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption; and a lower top estate, gift, and GST tax rate. This “gift” came courtesy of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “2010 Act”), signed into law on December 17, 2010.

For many, this is no small gift. But its value to you ultimately depends on the extent to which you and your advisors act prior to 2013. Like the gift horse, it is the quick and thoughtful use to which you put this opportunity that will dictate the extent to which your family is enriched.

Making the most of a gift horse: Your wealth planning opportunity…scratch that, imperative, explains how the current wealth transfer tax environment evolved and highlights some provisions that provide particular planning opportunities prior to the end of 2012. It’s the first in a series of three articles to help you explore actions you may want to consider.

Download the PDF above for further insight.


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