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President-Elect Donald Trump on Estate Tax Policy

President-Elect Donald Trump on Estate Tax Policy

With the world buzzing about the developing policies of President-Elect Trump, the potential consequences for federal estate tax planning are worth noting.  Here are the five key things you need to know about potential changes during Trump’s presidency:
  1. Trump’s plan is to repeal the federal estate and gift tax. Instead he proposes only a capital gains tax on assets left to heirs above a $10 million threshold.
  2. Under current law, the federal estate and gift tax exemption amount will be $5.49 million per person in 2017.  Surviving spouses can use their deceased spouse’s unused exemption, effectively allowing a married couple to shield just shy of $11 million from federal estate taxes.
  3. In 2015, less than 5,000 individuals filed federal estate tax returns, so the actual number of people impacted by this policy change is a very small portion of our population.
  4. Any change to federal estate and gift tax policies are likely to be included in a comprehensive tax reform bill.  In other words, changes will not be made overnight.
  5. Oregon and Washington impose state estate tax (Oregon exempts $1 million and Washington exempts approximately $2 million) and there is no immediate discussion of those taxes being repealed.  Further, a surviving spouse cannot elect to use their deceased spouse’s unused exemption, so tax planning is even more important to minimize Oregon or Washington estate tax liability. 
In short, a repeal of the federal estate and gift tax is not going to happen overnight and will likely impact very few people.  However, tax planning for Oregon or Washington’s state estate tax will remain essential for the foreseeable future.
Call Gevurtz Menashe’s experienced estate planning attorneys if you want more information about how Trump’s plan for repealing the federal estate tax may impact you, or how to minimize your Oregon or Washington estate tax liability. To schedule a consultation, call our Portland offices at (503) 227-1515, our Vancouver offices at (360) 823-0410, or contact us online anytime.

Taylor S. Kittell is an Associate and Estate Planning Attorney at Gevurtz Menashe. She is a member of the Oregon and Washington state bars and focuses her practice exclusively on estate planning issues including wills and revocable trusts, estate and gift taxes, probate administration, asset protection planning, and beneficiary and trustee representation.