Congress adopted the American Taxpayer Relief Act (the Act), effective January 1, 2013. The Act made permanent tax rates and exemptions for estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. Prior laws incorporated “sunset” provisions for tax rates and exemptions that made long-term estate and gift planning difficult. The new law deletes references to sunsets.

Key provisions of the Act include:

It is also important to understand what did not change as a result of the Act:

So what does this mean for the client?
Assuming that we can rely on Congress’ promise that these changes are permanent, it will make estate and gift planning somewhat easier and long term planning more effective.

We recommend that clients meet with their estate planning attorney to discuss these changes in detail and determine whether any changes in their documents should be made.

Craig Dalton, an attorney no longer with Poyner Spruill, was the original author of this article.

◀︎ Back to Thought Leadership