Blog Post

Don’t Wait until Next Year to Make Your Gift!

Future Wealth Navigator

Any estate planning attorney will tell you that certain years stick out in their professional lives more than others. Here are some recent examples:

  • 2010: The year that estates of billionaires—including, most famously, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner—were administered without paying a penny of federal estate tax.
  • 2012: The year the affluent made gifts to capture gift tax exemptions—then, at $5.12 million—before a scheduled reduction to $1 million.
  • 2020: An election year where wealthy individuals feared record-high exemptions scheduled to remain in effect for five more years might abruptly be slashed with little notice.

In the final months of these years, scores of individuals emerged hoping to take advantage of tax benefits before it became too late. To accommodate, members of the trusts and estate community worked around the clock to finalize trust agreements, engage valuation companies, and draft documents transferring stock in closely held companies to irrevocable trusts. But many clients were frustrated when they learned that optimizing these tax benefits usually requires more than writing a check and signing a trust agreement, and can take well more than a month to craft and effectuate.

We expect 2025 to be another year for the estate planning record books. Absent legislative action, the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax exemptions—currently at $13,610,000 per individual—will be reduced by approximately one-half. Undoubtedly, scores of individuals sitting on the sidelines waiting to see if the tax laws will actually change this time, will emerge in the waning months of 2025 asking trusts and estates practitioners to help them capture these tax benefits.

To read the full post, please visit our Future Wealth Navigator blog.