Projecting the Year-by-Year Estate and Gift Tax Exemption Amount

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate and gift tax exemption is currently $12,060,000 per person. This number increases (or decreases) each year based on inflation and then is rounded. This article does nothing extraordinary. It simply lays out the projected increases over the next few years based on the most recent inflation rate which is 8.5%. Anybody with a calculator can compute these numbers, but many people have not yet done so, so the numbers outlined herein may come as a shock! Trump Tax Act The Trump Tax Act increases (or decreases) the federal estate and…

Did You Know That Nevada Has Laws Allowing for Larger Valuation Discounts Than in Every Other State?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) Estate planners have been rushing to help clients make large gifts before the gift and estate tax exemption drops in half at the end of 2025. But are estate planners truly maximizing the wealth transfer for their clients? Most are not doing so, simply because they’re failing to take advantage of a legislation I authored that passed and became law in Nevada’s 2009 legislative session. This was likely overlooked because the gift and estate tax exemptions exponentially increased soon after that thereby making it unnecessary for the smaller net worth clients to fully…

Steve Oshins Releases the 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart!

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) State income tax avoidance planning has become a necessary area of expertise for all estate planners. After all, how can an estate planner design a trust without first analyzing the income tax effects of selecting residents of different states as trustees? The 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart The 8th Annual Non-Grantor Trust State Income Tax Chart is a summary of the state income tax rules for non-grantor trusts and highest state income tax rate from state to state.  It simplifies the analysis by summarizing each state’s taxing rules and providing…

IRS PLR Approves Adding Formula General Power of Appointment for Basis Step Up

By Edwin P. Morrow, III, J.D., LL.M., MBA, CFP®, CM&AA® In PLR 202206008, the IRS approved of a judicial modification (approval of settlement) of a GST grandfathered trust to add a formula testamentary general power of appointment that would enable the remainder beneficiaries to receive a step up in basis over such assets at the primary beneficiary (child of settlor) powerholder’s death. The IRS ruled that 1) this addition did not disturb the GST exempt nature of the trust or cause any adverse GST consequences and that 2) it would cause estate inclusion over only the desired amount (more on this…

Basis Bump Planning: Using Grandma to Get a Stepped-Up Income Tax Basis

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) The federal estate and gift tax exemption is at an all-time high.  In fact, it’s so high that very few people would owe any federal estate tax if they were to die today.  Therefore, almost everybody dies leaving unused estate tax exemption on the table. Estate Tax Exemption as Currency Dollar, Euro, Yen, Pound, Franc, Peso, Estate Tax Exemption!  Yes, Estate Tax Exemption! Estate Tax Exemption is a form of currency.  However, unlike the other currencies, if you don’t use it during your lifetime you can’t pass it to your heirs (other than…

Will the Build Back Better Act Apply an 8% Surtax on Taxable Income in Trusts for Children?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) At the time of the writing of this article, the proposed Build Back Better Act includes an income tax surtax of 5% on taxable income (actually Modified Adjustable Gross Income) above $10 million and an 8% surtax on taxable income above $25 million. However, the current language applies the same 5% surtax to taxable income above $200,000 of taxable income and the same 8% surtax to taxable income above $500,000 in a non-grantor trust regardless of the wealth or taxable income of its beneficiaries. This includes a simple trust for the benefit of…

Is 2021 the Greatest Year Ever for Estate Planners?

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) History repeats itself. First, there was the fiscal cliff in 2012. Then there was the “threat” of a Biden presidency and an upcoming tax act in 2020. Now we are living through the “threat” of an upcoming tax act as we near the end of 2021. Each of these three years has something in common — a supply/demand ratio that made it impossible for many potential clients to be able to find a capable estate planning attorney to take on their work and be able to complete it by year-end. YEAR 2012 In…

The Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (“ILIT”) is a trust that owns one or more life insurance policies and is designed to avoid estate taxes on the death benefit. The trust must be irrevocable in order to accomplish this. The general plan is to create the trust prior to the purchase of the life insurance and have the trustee of the ILIT purchase the insurance and elect to have the ILIT named as both the owner and the beneficiary of the policy. However, in the event that the life insurance policy is owned outside…

The Floating Spouse Provision and More: Designing a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust for Maximum Access and Maximum Divorce Protection

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) A Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (“SLAT”) is an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the settlor’s spouse and descendants. The settlor makes transfers to the trust that must come from the settlor’s separate property. If drafted properly, the trust assets are protected from the creditors and divorcing spouses of the settlor and of the beneficiaries and aren’t subject to estate taxes (if using a completed gift version) when the settlor and settlor’s spouse pass away. THE KEY IS IN THE DRAFTING A general fear that many clients and advisors have is that they…

Poll Results: The New First-Tier Trust Jurisdictions

By Steven J. Oshins, Esq., AEP (Distinguished) In May of 2021, I conducted a LinkedIn poll asking, “[w]hich of the following are the first-tier trust jurisdictions?” The choices were (a) AK, DE, NV and SD, (b) NV and SD or (c) NV, SD and TN. The purpose of the poll was to see if the general public still believes that Alaska, Delaware, Nevada and South Dakota make up the first tier. Or have Nevada and South Dakota distanced themselves enough from Alaska and Delaware to deserve their own tier? Or has Tennessee improved enough to join Nevada and South Dakota…