Like it or not, Donald Trump is the President of the United States. The landscape for estate planning, and specifically, estate tax planning, may greatly change under a Trump administration. Regardless of whether Trump’s proposals are passed in 2017, it’s a good time to review your estate plan and understand how it could be impacted by changing laws at both the state and federal level.

Elimination of Estate Tax

President Trump has proposed the elimination of the Federal Estate Tax. While this may sound like a great thing for the wealthy, keep a few things in mind:

• Estate tax repeal may be a campaign promise that falls by the wayside.
• New York State still has an estate tax (currently for estates valued at $4,187,500 or larger).
• Any enacted legislation may not be permanent – a change in the control of Congress, or a change in the Presidency in future years, may give rise to the reinstatement of an estate tax.

What Should You Do?

Now is the time to revisit your estate plan, or create one if you have yet to do so. Make sure your legal documents are flexible so that your plan can adapt to the changing tax laws. Your will and trusts may need to be revised to accommodate the changes in the estate tax exemption amount.

Be sure to:

• Review your Last Will and Testament.
• Prepare or review your Credit Shelter Trusts and revise the funding formula, or use disclaimer trusts, to accommodate potentially changing tax laws.
• Organize your records so that the cost basis of your assets is easily calculable, as this may be important after you death if there is no longer a step-up in basis.

We will continue to monitor the various policies proposed by President Trump, and keep you advised as to what legislation relating to estate planning, if any, actually gets enacted and how it may affect you.

Learn more about our estate planning practice or contact us if you have any questions. Our Estate Planning attorneys are always available to ensure you are taking appropriate steps to protect your wealth and your family.