The popularity of social media sites has led to an outburst in use of the word “viral.” “Viral” videos and articles are frequently pointed to as a product of the mega-popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter. This just refers to stories and movies/clips that spread very quickly from person to person over these channels.
It isn’t very often that any story related to estate planning in any way “goes viral.” However, this week one story in Forbes on the estate tax was shared, re-tweeted, and “liked” far more than anything else on the topic. In the world of financial planning and long-term legal preparation it is fair to say that this artcle went viral. You can take a look at the story here.
The issue discussed in the article is one that we have frequently touched on–the likely changes to the estate tax starting January 1st. The summary is that while over $5 million can be used on gift and estate tax exemptions per individual this year (double that for married couples), the exemption will likely drop to $1 million on the first of the year. In other words, large chunks of assets can be given without any tax implications right now, but hundreds of thousands (or even millions) might be lost in taxes if that transfer does not occur until 2013.
Importantly, local residents should remember that taking advantage of this opportunity does not automatically mean that one gives up total control of the assets transferred. Various trusts can be used, along with business entities and insurance options to structure the transfer so that total control is not given up while still benefiting from the 2012 favorable tax rates.
Then again, it is impossible to know for sure what the future holds. The Obama administration and the Republican Congress have different ideas about what the gift and estate tax should look like, and they will be negotiating in the coming weeks to perhaps hammer out a deal. Right now though, as the article notes, “The only certainty is that the rest of 2012 is a bargain, and you don’t have to die to take advantage of it.”
No doubt the pent-up debates and feuding related to the election played a role in the popularity of this estate tax article. Many people are looking for “what now” stories in the aftermath of the election, trying to figure out how laws, rules, and regulations might be changed as a result of President Obama’s re-election. That was likely amplified by the fact that this story is very time-sensitive: Act Now Before Its Too Late.
For New Yorkers, the story is simply yet another reminder that now is a perfect time to visit with a legal professional and handle some long-term financial matters. Immense tax savings might be in play by doing this work now instead of waiting. The attorneys at our firm are ready and able to help all local residents with these matters, no matter how big the estate.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
What the Election Might Mean for Long-Term Care Issues in New York