Your estate plan is an organic document that needs to evolve as your life and family circumstances change, new laws take effect, and tax-saving opportunities present themselves. Births, deaths, divorces, health concerns, major economic disruptions are only a few of the reasons to revisit your plan. Whether you are creating your first estate plan or are looking for ideas to improve your existing plan, the Berdon Estate Planning Guide for 2016 can be a valuable resource.
A major advantage to the on-line guide is that it updates automatically as tax laws change. So you can consult it again and again and be certain that the information is current. The Guide offers insights and strategies to help reduce the impact of taxation, ensure that your loved ones are provided for, and pass on the maximum amounts to your heirs in the most tax-effective way.
Here are just a few bits of information that the guide offers that may prove useful:
Family Limited Partnerships: A carefully structured FLP allows you to increase the amount of gifts without increasing the gift tax cost.
Credit Shelter Trusts: A major benefit of these trusts is the ability to avoid taxes on future appreciation of assets in the trust.
Splitting Assets: Read a case study where a tax advantage was gained when one spouse held more assets than the other.
Second-To-Die Life Insurance: This tool can be valuable for providing liquidity to pay estate taxes.
The ILIT Advantage: A properly structured irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) could save you estate taxes on insurance proceeds.
Estate Tax Deferral: Normally estate taxes are due within 9 months of your death. However, if closely held business interests exceed 35% of your adjusted gross estate, the estate may qualify for a deferral of tax payments.
Dynasty Trusts: For high net worth individuals, a dynasty trust is a long-term trust created to pass wealth from generation to generation without incurring transfer taxes such as estate and gift tax.
Scott T. Ditman, a tax partner and Chair, Personal Wealth Services at Berdon LLP, advises high net worth individuals and family/owner-managed business clients on building, preserving, and transferring wealth, estate and income tax issues, and succession and financial planning.