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When the Opportunity Goes Away, So May the Certainty

Making the most of a gift horse


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American taxpayers have a potentially valuable wealth transfer opportunity that was presented to them through a “relaxed” statute courtesy of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the “2010 Act”). Through 2012 there are expanded federal estate and gift tax exclusion amounts, an expanded federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption, and a lower top estate and gift tax rate. There is a strong possibility that the current transfer tax regime will be allowed to “sunset” at the end of 2012 pursuant to the provisions of current law.

Making the most of a gift horse: When the opportunity goes away, so may the certainty is the final in a series of three articles that examines the current wealth transfer environment and opportunities under the 2010 Act. In this article, we pose a few more planning options, and then we look ahead to the increasingly murky wealth-transfer tax environment beyond 2012 — including some potential structural changes in the law in addition to the uncertainty surrounding future exclusion amounts and tax rates.

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