How Trusts Can Be Used To Counter Tougher Estate Taxes

April 20, 2021

Imminent estate planning should be a worry for wealthy clients as the tax landscape changes with the Biden administration.

The estate tax exemption raised by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will sunset in five years—possibly sooner, as the new Congress gears up for a Biden tax overhaul. “There are legitimate concerns that the exemption will be … possibly as low as $3 million,” said Mike Winn, managing partner, business succession and planning, at Audent Family Wealth Advisors in Los Angeles.

For wealthy clients, planning now requires broader knowledge of trusts, changes in gifting habits and covering the basics in existing plans, advisors said.

Brian Corrigan, partner at the New York law firm Farrell Fritz and a specialist in estate litigation, advises clients to have preparers of wills defeat objections to probate ahead of time. Attorneys should document how the attorney-client relationship was formed and how drafts and correspondence were reviewed with the client.

Safeguard the will itself by noting communications, time entries, correspondence or notes to the execution will be sought in discovery, Corrigan said. Other persons with access to the client’s papers could steal or destroy the original.

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  • Related Practice Areas: Estate Litigation, Trusts & Estates
  • Featured Attorneys: Brian P. Corrigan
  • Publications: Financial Advisor Magazine