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Have More Than $10 Million? Consider Making Big Gifts During 2011 And 2012


If you have a very large estate, say exceeding $10 million, you should meet with your tax advisor and estate planning attorney to discuss whether you should make big gifts during 2011 or 2012, which assets are good candidates for gifts, and how they should be transferred.

The extension of the Bush tax breaks during December, 2010 includes big estate and gift tax breaks for 2011 and 2012. The federal estate and gift exemption equivalent for U.S. citizens and residents for 2011 and 2012 is $5 million. For a married couple, the total amount that could potentially be transferred free of estate and gift tax is $10 million. The tax rate for estate and gift transfers in 2011 and 2012 is 35%.

Unless Congress takes further action, the exemption equivalent after 2012 will be $1 million and the maximum federal tax rate for estate and gift transfers will be 55%.

According to Michael Gray, CPA, “The 2011 and 2012 ’window’ provides and opportunity for wealthy families to possibly avoid future transfer taxes and to shift future appreciation to family members who receive the gifts.”



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