5 ways to protect your estate from capital gains taxes
Published: Dec 25, 2015 6:04 a.m. ET
Traditional estate planning is being turned on its head
By JOHN O. MCMANUS
The time-honored approach to estate planning is being turned on its head by significant tax law changes that have taken effect in recent years.
Long-term capital gains tax rates now range from 25% to 33% (when you add together the top federal, state and local rates and Obamacare’s Medicare surtax). So now that the federal estate tax exemption is $5.43 million ($10.86 million for a couple’s combined exemptions), many Americans may no longer be exposed to federal estate taxes, making taxes on income and capital gains more prominent.
In fact, some legal practitioners who spent the first half of their careers zealously transferring assets out of their clients’ estates to avoid estate taxes now expect to spend the second half pushing assets back into their clients’ estates because the estate planning paradigm has changed.
What are the best ways to strategize around capital gains taxes to keep them as low as possible?
Rundown of the tax rules for gifts
To answer that, it helps to first understand the rules about gifts and taxes.