Clients with high-net-worth estates and their attorneys have been carefully monitoring the ever-changing Build Back Better Bill in an attempt to anticipate any estate and trust planning that may be recommended based on the proposed changes. There was some concern amongst clients and their advisors, particularly in the last few months, of potential legislative tax changes that would affect federal estate and gift taxes and current legal strategies utilized to minimize these taxes.
The latest version of the bill, which is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden, eliminated provisions included in the bill’s prior versions which would have reduced the federal estate and gift tax exemption amount on January 1, 2022 (from approximately 11.7 million to approximately 6 million dollars). The bill in its current form also eliminated previous provisions that would have affected the use of certain grantor trusts utilized in federal estate tax planning, as well as any potential “clawback” provisions related to the date of establishment of these trusts.
While practitioners and clients can relax (at least momentarily), as changes to the federal estate tax and treatment of certain grantor trusts are not included in the legislation’s current version, the potential for new legislation that would affect federal estate taxes and planning options surrounding the same always exists. Importantly, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is set to sunset at the end of 2025, so expect that federal estate tax considerations will remain a part of planning discussions for certain families even with the removal of certain provisions from the Build Back Better Bill.