Estate planning should be viewed as an ongoing, dynamic process. Things do not stand still, and events can and do take place that can make an estate plan revision necessary.
We are experiencing one of these events at the present time. There are significant changes to the estate/gift tax parameters on the horizon in 2013, and because of these changes you may want to take certain actions before 2012 comes to a close.
At the present time the unified gift/estate tax exclusion stands at $5.12 million. This figure is only going to remain in place through the rest of this year.
Next year the exclusion goes down to just $1 million.
So, if the value of your estate exceeds $1 million, you may want to consider taking advantage of this expanded exemption to give gifts during the 2012 calendar year.
It should be noted that gift giving does not have to be a direct cash transfer in the here and now. If you were to fund certain types of irrevocable trusts for the benefit of family members the act of funding the trust would be considered an instance of taxable gift giving.
Funding a trust in 2012 can be a wise move because of the more generous exclusion. This would also apply to the giving of shares in a family limited partnership to members of your family.
If you are interested in taking advantage of this rapidly closing window of opportunity, take action right now to set up a consultation with an Indianapolis estate planning lawyer who has a background assisting high net worth families.