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Estate And Asset Protection Strategies

Generally, the goals of estate planning are to provide for financial security in life and to maximize - given the client's goals and objectives - the estate for family and other heirs following death. To fully leverage estate preservation opportunities and develop strategies to help achieve distribution objectives, we consider:

  • Will and trust design strategies
  • Property ownership alternatives, including the review of titling and beneficiaries to coordinate with your overall plan
  • Estate tax reduction techniques
  • Insurance analysis
  • Qualified plan distribution alternatives
  • Family-gifting strategies
  • Charitable planning
  • Employee stock option optimization

Tax Considerations

Parameters of the Estate, Gift and GST Taxes Under Current Law (2017)
 Maximum Tax Rate (Percent)Applicable Exclusion Amount (the Exemption)
 Estate and GSTGiftEstate and GSTGift, LifetimeGift, annual, per recipient*
2017  4040$5.49 million$5.49 million$14,000
2018  4035$5.6 million$5.6 million$15,000

Source: Internal Revenue Code

Portability of Exemption Equivalent

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the Act) allows portability of a decedent's unused estate exemption to the decedent's surviving spouse. Portability has been made permanent under the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA).

In addition, portability applies to the unused exemption of the surviving spouse's most recent deceased spouse. Thus, beginning after 2010, a surviving spouse could use his/her exemption (assume $5,000,000) plus the unused exemption of his/her most recent deceased spouse, for a possible total of $10,000,000. In 2018, the possible total is $11,2000,000.