Many estate planning attorneys are following the news about the Build Back Better Act (the Act) and how it could affect their clients. This news story is a moving target, as Congress is likely to make changes to the legislation, and there is no guarantee that it will even pass.
One-size-fits-all estate plans are impracticable due to the differences and varying complexities in each person’s estate. It is imperative to tailor an estate plan to meet each client’s needs and goals, so the drafting attorney must understand the character of the assets in the client’s estate and the planning options best suited for each client. Because high net worth clients are often very protective of their assets, planning objectives and recommendations for clients with large estates will almost always differ and be more complex than those for other clients. When estate planning attorneys understand the different planning techniques appropriate for larger estates, including the advantages and disadvantages of each, they can help high net worth clients create a plan that not only facilitates a smooth transition of assets to beneficiaries after death but also helps to sustain the longevity of assets.
A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an advanced estate planning tool used to reduce an individual’s taxable estate by passing assets to trust beneficiaries free of estate and gift tax. However, like any advanced estate planning tool, GRATs can be complicated and must be structured properly to be beneficial. Dive into the following questions and answers to develop a better understanding of how GRATs work and how they may be useful for estate planning clients.