This Wall Street Journal article from the excellent “You’re the Boss” blog describes how the new 2010 tax laws concerning estate and gift taxes have created an excellent opportunity for some business owners to transfer large chunks of their businesses to family members without incurring estate or gift taxes.
The previous lifetime gift exemption for a married couple was $2 million. With the passage of the 2010 estate tax law, it jumped up to $10 million. For business owners who are ready to start transferring portions of their business and who have beneficiaries who are already working in the family business, there are estate planning and business planning opportunities available to transfer shares (or non-voting shares) of the business without incurring tax liabilities.
The window for these opportunities is currently scheduled to close at the end of 2012 and it is uncertain what will happen in 2013. Feel free to contact me to discuss these issues if you have a business that you are thinking of transferring to family members.