With all eyes on the November election, many are wondering what impact the upcoming presidential and congressional races might have on estate planning. To provide answers, Bennett Thrasher’s Estates & Trusts practice partnered with BT Wealth Management and Djuric Spratt to present, “Estate Planning in an Election Year.” The webinar was led by BT Partners Chris Benner and Bridget Dunk and the panel included Clay McDaniel and Terri Munro, both BT Wealth Management Partners, as well as Trish Thompson, a Shareholder at Djuric Spratt.
What Estate Planning Tools are Currently Available?
During the presentation, the panelists encouraged individuals to utilize available tools for their estate plan. Some of the key provisions include:
- The $15,000 annual gift tax exclusion
- No clawbacks for past gifts
- The basis step-up to fair market value at death
- Portability of unused exemption amounts between spouses
- Upstream planning, in which the younger generation gifts to the older generation
- Portability of unused exemptions
- Gifting or selling a life insurance policy to an irrevocable life insurance trust
- Roth IRA conversions (especially beneficial if the Roth owner is in a lower tax bracket than the beneficiary of the gift)
Looking and Planning Ahead
As individuals plan for the future, however, it’s important that they consider the current election-year economy, including the capital markets, federal deficit and tax rates. While it is not known how these factors will pan out, individuals can take proactive steps now to ensure their estate plan is election-proof. To make informed and methodical decisions, the panelists recommended the following steps:
- Give yourself the time to do a thorough analysis of your estate, income taxes and personal financial plan
- Utilize sound strategies that are applicable even without an impending election
- Assess your cash flow in before and after gifting assets scenarios, making sure you can live comfortably even if taxes increase and/or deductions become limited
- Implement a plan while ensuring you have proper documentation and entities in place
- Work with an appraiser to identify the worth of assets
For a recording of the webinar, click here.