Estate & Gift Tax Planning

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Estate, Gift & GST Tax Planning Advisors in Reston

Serving Northern VA, DC, and MD

Techniques For Minimizing Estate & Gift Taxes

The estate and gift tax laws have changed dramatically over the last dozen years. Most recently, the lifetime exemptions for both estate and gift tax (and generation skipping transfer tax) were increased to $12,060,000 per person in 2022, and gift tax annual exclusion was increased to $16,000 per donee. Also, Congress made permanent the ability of a surviving spouse to use the unused exemption of the first spouse to pass away (a/k/a portability).

How an Estate Tax Affects Gifts

If an estate is large enough, the executor generally must file an estate tax return on Form 706 within nine months of the date of death. Estate tax planning does not end with death, however, and there are many decisions the executor must make regarding how to report items on an estate tax return, whether and the extent to which taxes may be deferred beyond the due date of the tax return, and other items that will require the assistance of a competent estate tax attorney to minimize taxes and protect assets. The attorneys at Zell Law frequently advise executors and trustees on estate tax matters and assist in the preparation of estate tax returns, where necessary and appropriate.

Gift Taxes

Most people don’t realize that gift tax may be due on certain transfers you make during your life. And, even if gift tax is not due, it may be required or wise to file a gift tax return, depending upon the transaction that resulted in a transfer of assets or wealth from a donor to a donee. The attorneys at Zell Law often assists clients in complying with the gift tax rules, by preparing gift tax returns and structuring ways in which to minimize gift taxes and maximize the use of the lifetime gift tax exemption and the annual exclusion from gift tax we all enjoy.

Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax Planning 

Did you know that transfers of assets either by gift or at death to grandchildren, great- nieces/nephews or individuals who are two or more generations younger than you may trigger an additional transfer tax known as the "generation skipping transfer" (GST) tax? The GST tax (currently imposed at a flat 40% rate) applies to generation-skipping transfers and is in addition to gift and estate tax. Similar to the gift tax, there is an annual gift tax exclusion per donee ($16,000 in 2022) and a GST lifetime exemption ($12.06 million in 2022). For large estates (in excess of the lifetime exemption, which is scheduled to drop automatically by half in 2026), Zell Law helps high net worth clients minimize exposure to the estate, gift and GST tax, by establishing trusts for family members, including younger generations, either during life or following death. To learn more about how we can help you establish how GST trusts for your family and heirs, contact a Zell Law attorney in Reston, VA.

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