2021 is nearly over, with a new year around the corner. While this is generally a time of celebrating holidays and preparing for the new year, there are some estate planning considerations that should be taken into account before 2021 is over. Although this may not seem like a top priority, there are timing considerations because of proposed legislation that may impact estate plans by 2022. Below are some common items that should be reviewed and discussed with an estate planning attorney by the new year.
Estate and Gift Tax Exemption
While Texas does not have a state estate and gift tax, there is a federal tax. The estate tax is a tax levied on a person’s estate plan and is based on the amount of assets a person is giving to others in their estate plan once they have passed. Currently, estates under $11.7 million are not taxed; however, this amount is set to roll back to a lower level soon. While the current plan is to lower the exemption amount to $5 million in 2026, there are discussions in Congress about speeding up this rollback to the beginning of 2022.
Laws can be quickly passed through Congress, so it is difficult to predict whether this effort to lower the estate tax exemption by 2022 will be successful or not. Because of this, individuals should speak with an estate planning attorney who will advise them on whether their estate is likely to be impacted by this federal tax change—and changes they can make to their estate plan if they are impacted.