For very wealthy individuals and families, the strong possibility of a change of administrations in Washington portends massive changes in tax policy and it is not too soon to consider the possible changes and to plan for them.

For example, on the estate tax side of the ledger, the current estate and gift  tax exemption thresholds, which in 2020 are $11,580,000 per individual and $23,160,000 per married couple, are most likely to be drastically reduced. Transfers made before the end of the year will qualify for these high exemption levels and when the exemption amounts are reduced transfers made now in anticipation of those changes will in all likelihood remain effective and the Internal Revenue Service will not seek to “claw back” the savings achieved in this calendar year (at least that is their current position as stated in regulations issued in 2019). Hence, there may be great savings to be had if one acts now rather than later.

On the income tax side, it may be wise to realize long-term capital gains and to take those gains in the 2020 tax year rather than wait until 2021. The tax rate for such gains will probably be higher in the coming year, depending of course on the outcome of the election.

There is a wealth of information available for further study on the internet, but the best source of advice is to seek the individualized guidance of a trusted and experienced estate planning attorney. In the meantime, see the link below for an introduction to the shape of things to come. As one steeped in years of high school Latin classes, the old maxim comes to mind: “praemonitus, praemunitus,” or, “forewarned is forearmed.”

Financial Voices Prep Clients’ Tax Estates Now For A Potential Democratic Sweep