The article Is It Time to Panic About the Gift Tax Yet? by Kelly Greene was posted on the November 16, 2011 online edition of the Wall Street Journal. It advises people to act now in order to take advantage of the $5 million lifetime gift-tax exemption before Congress amends the limit again. The article also includes three recommendations from a white paper entitled “Tax, Asset Protection and Other Moves to Make Now! (Well Maybe)” by Martin Shenkman, an estate-planning lawyer in Paramus, N.J.:
1. Make an outright gift of one or more assets that can be transferred quickly. Deed a house that does not have a mortgage (so you won’t require lender approval). You might be able to have a local real-estate agent provide you with a comparative market analysis, so you have an idea of how large the taxable gift might be.
2. Transfer an equity interest in a closely held family partnership, limited liability company or S corporation.
3. If you’ve made intrafamily loans to take advantage of historically low interest rates, consider forgiving the loan. That can constitute a quick means of completing a gift without requiring further transfers, new accounts, etc.
If you are considering planning or adjusting your plan in light of the ever-changing gift and estate tax laws, please call or email so we can discuss your options.
(Image courtesy of cooldesign)