Estate Planning & Valuation in the Age of Trump
January 30, 2017
In the not-so-distant past, taxes drove everything in estate planning. Today, a new administration, recent changes in tax laws, and the fact that less than .02% of Americans pay any estate taxes have many people rethinking their estate plans. No matter what the new president does, however, there are still many issues on the table that should drive clients to your door, and many of them require an accurate, independent valuation of the assets involved.
President Trump may work to repeal federal estate taxes, but that still leaves the issue of estate taxes at the state level. With state rates as high as 20% (Washington state), individuals will have plenty of reasons to need estate planning services. Currently, fourteen states and the District of Columbia have an estate tax, six states have an inheritance tax, and Maryland and New Jersey have both.
New Capital Gains Tax?
One idea the new president has floated is a new capital gains tax if he is successful in repealing the federal estate tax. There are few specifics, but an exemption of at least $10 million to protect small businesses and farm owners has been discussed. The application of the tax is unclear however, particularly regarding whether it would apply to unrealized gains or only when the assets are sold. Regardless, as stated by Adrienne Penta of Brown Brothers Harriman,
"If the estate tax is replaced by a capital gains tax, it could be even more complex to administer and to produce the documentation on cost basis."
Benjamin Franklin’s well-known phrase that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure could not be more true than when applied to estate planning. Far too often, people leave estate planning and its related issues until it’s too late to take advantage of the benefits available to them and their heirs. Regardless of where estate-related rules and regulations are headed, do yourself and your clients a great service by having an accurate, independent valuation of estate assets completed.
The Valbridge Estate Planning Specialty Group can help you with any of your estate valuation needs, including:
- Valuations for 706 and 709 filings for all types of real estate
- Fractional interest valuation/discount studies for LPs, GPs, LLCs, and TICs
- National Database of Fractional Interest Sales
- Expert witness/litigation support
- Partition actions
- Business valuations