With a lot tax laws making its manner by way of Congress, it could be time to begin excited about tips on how to assist your shoppers play protection in opposition to potential tax hikes. The property planning methods mentioned beneath might assist rich shoppers mitigate the influence of the tax proposals at the moment gaining traction on Capitol Hill.
In fact, as with all property planning determination, it’s essential to your shoppers to seek the advice of with a professional lawyer earlier than taking motion. That mentioned, this info could assist you educate your shoppers, together with high-net-worth (HNW) shoppers, in regards to the potential influence of tax modifications on their property plans.
How Might Tax Adjustments Have an effect on Property Planning?
The lifetime federal property tax exemption is at the moment $11.7 million per individual. Your HNW shoppers could also be involved whether or not they’ll have the ability to use this huge exemption in 2021. As of this writing, the reply is prone to be sure. An instantaneous discount is not a part of two payments at the moment into consideration by Congress: the American Jobs Plan and the American Households Plan.
One other invoice, the For the 99.5 P.c Act, does embrace reward and property tax modifications, however it doesn’t try and make these modifications retroactive. Accordingly, taxpayers ought to have the ability to make use of the $11.7 million lifetime property tax exemption in 2021. The IRS has confirmed that, if taxpayers correctly use this exemption throughout years with the next threshold, they won’t be penalized in the event that they die when the exemption is decrease.
4 Property Planning Methods to Mitigate Tax Hikes
As a result of the payments talked about above are making their manner by way of Congress, their particulars aren’t set in stone. But when your shoppers are keen on tips on how to play protection in opposition to potential tax hikes, right here’s what they should find out about some essential property planning methods.
1) Grantor trusts. Usually known as “deliberately faulty grantor trusts,” these trusts supply a simple manner to make use of the lifetime property tax exemption and preserve property within the household. An irrevocable belief could be set as much as profit youngsters whereas permitting the belief to be taxed to the grantor for revenue tax functions. This gives the multifaceted benefit of eradicating property from the shopper’s property and serving to safeguard asset progress from the annual tax burden. Cost of the taxes by the grantor isn’t handled as a further reward to beneficiaries.
Notably, the 99.5 P.c Act and the Smart Taxation and Fairness Promotion (STEP) Act would considerably curtail the advantages of those trusts. As proposed, funding a grantor belief wouldn’t take away property from the grantor’s property and would set off a capital beneficial properties realization occasion. The payments seem to grandfather grantor trusts that exist earlier than the efficient date of the enacted laws.
In case your shoppers wish to add this element to their property plan, they could want to think about creating and nominally funding such a belief as quickly as potential. Further funding might be organized later when the ultimate laws turns into clearer, or property funded into the belief might be exchanged later for different property.
2) SLATs and ILITs. Spousal lifetime entry trusts (SLATs) and irrevocable life insurance coverage trusts (ILITs) give attention to combining wealth switch ways with leveraging and defending property values. Usually, each sorts of trusts personal massive life insurance coverage insurance policies and periodically obtain presents from the grantor to cowl their equally massive premium funds. These contributions could be structured as bigger presents that deplete the lifetime property tax exemption or the annual reward tax exclusion ($15,000 in 2021).
SLATs are designed to permit the nongrantor partner to entry and profit from built-up money values in life insurance coverage insurance policies. SLATs and ILITs present revenue tax–free dying advantages as a result of the profit is paid outdoors of the grantor’s property. In some very massive estates, these dying advantages may assist defend different property by offering liquidity to pay property taxes.
The influence of congressional payments on these trusts might be dramatic. For one factor, SLATs and ILITs are sometimes grantor trusts, that means the problems mentioned above would apply. Though the trusts is likely to be grandfathered, the proposed legal guidelines would apply to any new contributions—which can pose an issue as a result of common contributions happen by design for a lot of of those trusts.
To plan forward, one choice that could be price your shoppers’ consideration is to prefund these trusts to permit the trustee to pay up the coverage, a method that might use the property tax exemption this yr whereas the edge is excessive. It might additionally seem prone to absolutely grandfather the belief for the long run.
3) GRATs and FLPs. Grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and household restricted partnerships (FLPs) are quite common property freeze ways. They let grantors take away future progress from their property whereas nonetheless doubtlessly receiving ongoing advantages from the property. Each GRATs and FLPs could be designed to make use of little or no property switch tax exemption.
The 99.5 P.c Act explicitly targets GRATs, mandating that they should be greater than 10 years in length and go away at the least the better of 25 p.c of the market worth or $500,000 to the rest curiosity. This might remove the widespread technique of utilizing GRATs briefly, rolling increments. Due to this fact, 2021 is likely to be the ultimate yr to maneuver important money or extremely considerable securities out of a grantor’s property.
Likewise, the 99.5 P.c Act introduces limitations to low cost valuation guidelines—most notably focusing on entities similar to FLPs and LLCs by stopping a reduction in instances the place any member of the family continues to regulate the transferred entity. It might remove the long-standing observe of methodically transferring FLP pursuits to the following era utilizing annual valuations at minority and marketability reductions.
As with ILITs, transferring massive parts of an FLP in 2021—in case your shopper nonetheless has massive exemptions to make use of this yr—could also be one thing they need to think about and talk about with their lawyer or tax skilled. It’s price noting, nevertheless, that the 99.5 P.c Act might remove the attractiveness of future FLPs.
4) Contingent planning. Given the uncertainty concerning congressional approval of tax modifications, your shoppers may think about creating contingent presents and trusts by way of quite a lot of authorized mechanisms. Within the case of presents to trusts for spouses, for instance, it’s potential to create a lifetime certified terminable curiosity property (QTIP) belief. Since a QTIP election is due similtaneously a private revenue tax return, this method permits time to see what turns into legislation in 2021.
If no important modifications happen, your shoppers can decline to file the QTIP election with their tax return in 2022. Relying on how the lawyer drafts the belief, this determination would probably bypass a partner and fund a belief for descendants, utilizing any future will increase within the reward and property tax exemption.
Equally, trusts can grant useful choices and powers whereas we await the result of 2021 laws. One such choice permits an influence holder to train a disclaimer and ship property again to the grantor of a belief. Since certified disclaimers should be made inside 9 months of the disclaimable curiosity’s creation, an influence holder might wait till 2022 to make this determination.
The Worth of Steering
Congress continues to be within the early levels of the legislative negotiation course of for the payments proposing tax modifications. So, whether or not your shoppers are involved about tips on how to play protection in opposition to potential tax hikes—or even when they haven’t been paying consideration—you may present helpful training by initiating a dialogue on this matter. And, in fact, it is best to advise shoppers to hunt an lawyer’s help to make sure that their property planning methods are updated with federal and state tax codes and new legal guidelines.