By Joseph E. Balmer   |   November 21st, 2020

End Of Year: Don’t Forget To Review Your Estate Planning Documents! [REMINDER]

estate planning tax law changes assets gift tax exemptionThe end of the year is soon approaching. As with any election year and a change in presidency, there is some uncertainty as to what the near future holds in terms of estate planning and tax law changes. There are also things that should be reviewed on a regular basis regardless of the political climate.

In every calendar year, one can gift up to $15,000 to any other individual without having to file a gift tax return or use any of one’s estate tax/gift tax exemption. A married couple can gift up to $30,000. Should one wish to reduce his or her taxable estate or begin passing on wealth to the next generation, it would be wise to make gifts before the year has ended and this year’s annual exclusion is wasted.

Now is also a good time to review one’s estate planning  documents and how one’s assets are titled. Are beneficiary designation still appropriate? The SECURE Act which was recently passed has reduced the time period for non-spouses to take designations from an inherited IRA. Also, distributions are taxable on traditional IRAs but not Roth IRAs so that may play into your estate planning thoughts. Also, are your executor, trustee, POA, etc. nominees still appropriate? These should all be reviewed on a regular basis.

Tax Law Changes: Estate Tax/Gift Tax Exemption Reduction Coming In 2021?

Assuming that President-elect Biden takes office in January, there are other issues to keep an eye on. The current estate tax/gift tax exemption is $11.58 million dollars per person (increasing to $11.7 million in 2021). A married couple can transfer double that amount tax free. This exemption is set to be cut in half in 2026. Under a Biden administration that reduction may occur sooner or be reduced by an even greater amount. Should this affect your personal financial situation, one may want to consider making gifts sooner rather than later to reduce one’s estate tax liability. Also, the Biden administration may consider eliminating the “step-up” in basis that a beneficiary receives at the time of death for appreciated assets.

The “step-up” in basis has long been one of the arguments against giving away appreciated assets during one’s lifetime. If that is eliminated, it may affect the decision of whether to give away certain assets  prior to death or hold onto them until death. It is a situation worth following in the near future.

In summary, it is a good practice to review one’s estate plan and estate planning documents on a regular basis. Also, with a change in presidency anticipated, it is good to try to stay informed on any potential tax law changes  that might affect you, and, if so, discuss any concerns with your estate planning, financial and/or tax advisors.

Dayton, Ohio Estate Planning Law Firm Is Top-Notch

At Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, located in Dayton, Ohio, top-notch estate planning doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive! To learn more, go to our website at Or, please contact us at (937) 293-2141 to schedule an appointment for an initial consultation which can be conducted either by phone, Zoom or in person.

Joe Balmer Trusted Dayton Estate Planning Attorney

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About The Author: Joseph E. Balmer
Joseph Balmer manages the Probate, Trust and Estate Administration department at Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has been certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law since 2006.

2020 End of Year Estate Planning Thoughts
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