Surprise! Congress Came Up Short on the Fiscal Cliff Deal

Americans can rest easy now thatthe fiscal cliff debacle is over.  Butsome professionals have started to realize that there were some very realquestions left on the fiscal cliff table as it relates to key “tax tricks.”

While significant estateplanning laws are settled, there remain more than a few important estateplanning “tools” left hanging in the air. These tools likely will below-hanging fruit in future discussions.

The American Taxpayer Relief TaxAct Of 2012 (ATRA) finally ended some 12 years of estate planning uncertainty(or so we can only hope). The certainty includes such matters as various taxrates and the exemptions amounts for the estate tax, gift tax, andgeneration-skipping tax. But ATRA didn’t settle many technical questions raisedin the past few years, both on and off the campaign trail.

So, what issues and devicesshould we watch? A recent Forbesarticle titled “Congress May Tighten The Belt On Cute TaxTricks” lists some sore subjects and possible new areas of taxation.These include:

  • GrantorTrusts: might just get added back into the Grantor’s estate.
  • DynastyTrusts: might just limit the extent of your dynasty.
  • GRATs:“Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts” (GRATs) might become much more demanding andrisky.
  • FamilyLimited Partnerships: might become much less valuable as your ability totake discounts is curtailed.

The original article is worthyour time, especially if you are concerned that future technical rules mayswoop in and sully some well-designed estate planning. However, for thoseconversant with this subject, they will recognize that this talk is nothing newand these estate planning devices have been repeatedly targeted in the past.

Be sure to call us if you have questions about how future changes in the law may impactyour estate planning. Remember, good planning is no accident.


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