An effective estate plan will allow your family to continue to enjoy the maximum amount of assets you’ve taken a lifetime to accumulate, and minimize the amount of your assets which will go to the government at your death. It is imperative that you work with estate planning counsel to craft your estate plan to allow for utilization of every estate planning opportunity available to you and your family.

It is possible to make annual tax-free gifts up to the gift tax exclusion amount of $15,000 per recipient.  Above that, the transfer counts against your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. On December 22, 2017 President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  The 2017 Act increased the exemptions for federal estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping (GST) tax to $11,400,000 per person for 2019. The exemptions are indexed for inflation.  The tax rates on estates, gifts, and GST transfers above the exemption are forty percent (40%).

The 2017 Act contains a sunset provision.  The exemptions for federal estate tax, gift tax and GST tax are scheduled to revert to the 2017 amounts effective January 1, 2026. As a result of the 2017 Act clients are presented with an estate planning opportunity to transfer significant amounts of wealth out of their estate without the imposition of transfer taxes. After utilizing your lifetime exemption amount, strategic planning is necessary to allow for tax-efficient transfer of your estate.

Life insurance can be one of the most effective and efficient tools available to you in the estate planning process, and it makes sense to include the services of a qualified life insurance professional to assist in the design of your plan. Your should engage a credentialed life insurance professional with the following degrees if possible: Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP).