What Is the Federal Lifetime Exclusion?

In the United States, you are eligible to tap into something called a federal lifetime exclusion which is a specific dollar amount specified by the IRS that can help to minimize your estate tax liability when a person passes away. The vast majority of people will use their federal lifetime exclusion at death; however, you are also eligible to make large gifts during your lifetime to exercise this federal exemption. This amount was doubled in 2017 by President Trump to $11.7 million per person. This, however, is not permanent so this could be reduced by as much as 50% by the end of 2025.

Although this is not yet confirmed, many people anticipate significant changes related to estate taxes and limits such as this. Many taxpayers could benefit from giving away their assets during their lifetime and one such tool to accomplish this is known as spousal lifetime access trust. Most estate planners are carefully watching what might happen with estate tax shifts so that they can inform their clients promptly.

Since federal and state changes can happen at anytime, but particularly around a major shift in the White House or Congress, it’s smart to have a relationship with an estate planning law firm so that you have resources to turn to. Ensuring that your plan aligns with your current needs is key.

You can gift assets into a trust, use most of the federal lifetime exemption during the course of your life and leverage other powerful estate planning benefits. You’ll want to work directly with an experienced attorney to accomplish this because there are many complex aspects to establishing a spousal lifetime access trust.



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