President-elect Trump has proposed repealing the estate and gift tax. The Republicans control both the House and Senate so might this be a possibility? While many advisers say it can never happen, none of the pundits anticipated a Trump victory either. The better approach is to consider what repeal of the estate tax might mean, how it would affect clients with estate planning that is in process now, and how it may affect clients in the future. Many taxpayers have begun to vigorously pursue estate planning strategies out of concern that proposed valuation discount restrictions (Proposed Regulations under IRC Sec. 2704) might become law. What should be done with these plans? In many, perhaps most, cases, planning should continue, but perhaps with some “tweaks.” Could the gift tax be repealed? How might that affect planning? What about the proposed capital gains tax on death in lieu of an estate tax? If the gift and estate tax were repealed tomorrow what should you do? How might will, trust and power of attorney drafting be affected?
Jonathan G. Blattmachr, JD, has over 35 years of experience in trusts and estates law and is currently a Principal at Pioneer Wealth Partners, LLC. He is a retired member of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and the Alaska, California and New York Bars. Mr. Blattmachr writes and lectures extensively on estate and trust taxation and charitable giving and has authored or co-authored eight books and over 500 articles on estate planning topics. He also co-developed Wealth Transfer Planning™, an InterActive Legal software system published for lawyers that provides specific client advice and automated document assembly for wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents.
Martin M. Shenkman is an attorney in private practice in Fort Lee, NJ, and New York City. His practice concentrates on estate and tax planning, planning for closely held business, and estate administration. Mr. Shenkman is an author of over 40 books and more than 800 articles. His most recent book is a consumer book on powers of attorney co-authored with Jonathan Blattmachr; a professional edition will be available soon. He is an editorial board member of Trusts & Estates Magazine and the Matrimonial Strategist. He is the recipient of many awards including being a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Accredited Estate Planners (Distinguished) award from the National Association of Estate Planning Counsels. Mr. Shenkman was named Financial Planning Magazine 2012 Pro-Bono Financial Planner of the Year for his efforts on behalf of those living with chronic illness and disability. Investment Adviser Magazine featured him on the cover of its April 2013 issue naming as the lead of their “all-star lineup of tax experts.”
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