Articles Posted in Estate Taxes

New York’s estate tax cliff can lead to heirs in the state paying estate tax at a rate that surpasses 100%. The existing per-person New York state estate tax exemption is $6.11 million. This is the amount that a person can pass on to heirs at his or her time of death without being obligated to pay New York state estate taxes.

Provided a person’s taxable estate falls into the “Estate tax cliff range”, which occurs between $6.11 million and $6.711 million in 2022, a person falls off the estate tax cliff in New York state, and the amount surpassing the exemption is taxed at a rate greater than 100%. Fortunately, various solutions exist to this challenging situation. 

Utilizing Charitable Bequests

Estate planning relies on a countless number of assumptions. One assumption is that assets only flow in one direction: from older person to younger person. In reality, this does not always have to be the case. By making the most of some unconventional estate planning techniques, people can realize some tax and estate planning advantages. This is where the concept, of “reverse estate planning” comes in.

Some adult children who have more assets than parents and can help take care of the older generation. In these cases, reverse estate planning can play a valuable role. This is particularly true when parents will not be able to use the entirety of their estate and gift tax exemptions. This is just as true if a parent is in a lower tax bracket than their child. 

Tax Advantages through Reverse Estate Planning

Even if you’ve already abandoned your New Years’ resolution, you should still do your best this year to focus on your loved ones and what’s best for your future. One of the best things that any of us can do during times of uneasy political or economic times is to focus on what’s important. Your planning for what lies ahead should understandably address critical issues like what happens if you become incapacitated or unexpectedly pass away. This article reviews some of the basic frameworks that you should start (or revise) your estate plans in 2022.

Critical Questions to Ask About the Status of Your Estate Plans

Some of the important issues that you should ask about the status of your estate as you decide the strength of your estate plan include:

In 2022, the annual exclusion for federal Gift Taxes was increased to $16,000 per individual annually. Even though a near-universal acceptance exists that gift-giving can play an important role in estate planning, a person should consider various issues before making gifts.

The way that gifts are made can have a substantial impact on beneficiaries. This is especially true if the party who receives a gift is below the age of 21. Direct gifts made to young people can have their own challenges which include exposure to creditors and limited control over how gifts are made. Consequently, it’s a wise idea in these situations to consider placing gifts in a trust.

The Danger Behind Direct Gifts

In the recent case, Heiting v. the United States, an appellate court denied a claim-of-right deduction in accordance with Section 1341 of the Internal Revenue Code. The case originated from an effort by a taxpayer to receive a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service. Following a denial of the refund by the Internal Revenue Service, the taxpayer initiated a lawsuit pursuing a tax refund of the taxes paid on an unauthorized stock sale made by the grantor trust. 

Claim-of-Right Deductions

The claim of right deduction is a regulation that governs how income recognition is time. The law decides when income is taxed instead of whether it can be taxed. The regulation results from Congress’s implementation of an annual accounting period. If a person who pays taxes receives earnings under a claim of right and no restrictions exist regarding the disposition, the individual has received income to which he or she is required to return. This is true even though the person may claim that he or she has no entitlement to retain the funds.

While some people anticipated otherwise, 2022 started without any new federal regulation or tax changes addressing estate planning. As proposed legislation passed through the legislative process in 2021, major potential changes to federal estate and gift tax were dropped. These potential changes included a decrease in the estate and gift tax exemption as well as the elimination of a step-up basis.

Furthermore, no reports exist that any changes will be made any time soon. This is not a guarantee, though. Potential changes can emerge at any point in the future. While no changes are looming, it’s worth noting that one substantial change will occur in a few years when in 2025, the federal estate and gift exemption will be reduced to $5,000 per person.

Positive Changes to Estate Planning This Year

Each year, it’s important for anyone interested in planning for the future of their assets to either create or revise their estate plan. Taking the time and including loved ones in estate planning discussions is the best thing that you can do to avoid conflict or estate planning disagreements. 

Estate planning involves planning for the use of your assets after you become incapacitated or pass away. While many people think that estate plans are written in stone, this is not the truth. In actuality, various life events including births and divorce should lead people to review and ultimately revise the terms of their estate plan.

Acknowledge What You Own

As we begin our way through 2022, understanding various federal tax issues can help make the most of your estate planning this year. Because the federal legislature might pass regulations that alter these laws sometime during 2022, it’s important to understand critical federal tax laws you might want to utilize now. Before acting on any of these regulations, however, it’s often wise to speak with an attorney who is up to date with these changes and can make sure that you engage in actions that best benefit your situation. 

# 1 – Lifetime Exclusion Amounts

Starting January 1, 2022, the amount of federal estate and gift tax exclusion in addition to the generation-skipping transfer tax has increased to $12,060,000 from $11,700,000. Remember, this amount is doubled for married couples.  These threshold amounts are poised to decrease substantially at the beginning of 2026, though. 

In times of economic uncertainty, estate plans can benefit substantially from flexibility. As the country both continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as face the challenges brought on by new strains of COVID-19, it’s a good idea to consider how to make your estate plan flexible. Not to mention, looming changes brought on by changes to tax law also make it a good idea to consider flexibility while creating an estate plan.

What SPA Trusts Do

Special power of appointment (SPA)  trusts (or as they are sometimes called SPAT trusts) is a type of irrevocable trust in which either the creator or settlor of the trust grants appointment power to another person. The person who receives these powers functions in a non-fiduciary role to direct the trustee to make distributions to anyone except for the person who made the appointment of powers.

The Status of Estate and Gift Taxes in 2022

In 2021, Congress, as well as the Executive branch, proposed revisions to the tax code that if passed would have substantially changed estate planning. If these changes had been made, some proposals would have been put on the side, while the frequency of use for other estate planning strategies would have increased. 

Some estate planning proposals would have lowered the amount of estate and gift tax exemptions from the current level of $12.06 million a taxpayer to around half the amount. While no guarantee exists that such changes will be made at any time in the future, those interested in making the most of their estate plan should still understand how the law is written as well as what steps they can take to anticipate these looming changes. 

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