State of the Estate: Are you in a loophole?

Efforts to level the tax burden playing field ruled the headlines this week as President Obama promised to close loopholes related to the transfer of accumulated wealth ( i.e., trusts, estates and lifetime gifts). Preliminary plans released by the White House signal two key proposed changes: altering the step-up basis rules on gifted or inherited assets and increasing the capital gains rate.

Under current Federal law, lifetime gifts and bequests at death are not subject to capital gains taxation until the recipient opts to sell. The President’s proposal would instead cause capital gains taxes to be triggered at the time of transfer.

Furthermore, Obama’s proposal would increase the top capital gains tax rate up from 20% to 28%. The first $100,000 in gains per individual would be exempt. The exemption for capital gains on the sale of a personal residence would be increased to $500,000.

Although Obama’s proposed reforms face an uphill battle with the current GOP-controlled Congress, the State of the Union address serves as a bellwether for future reforms. To prepare for any level of reforms and how they will impact you and the future beneficiaries of your estate, consider conducting a review with your financial advisors and estate planning attorney.

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