–Currently gifts and estates of up to $5.12 million are exempt from taxes, but as part of the fiscal cliff, any portion of a bequest that exceeds $1 million will be taxed next year — and at a 55% rate (currently, the rate is 35%). That will kick in unless Congress and the president agree to extend the current exemption or agree on a new one. Many older Americans are not waiting to see if that happens.
“It’s crazy,” said Richard Behrendt, Director of Estate Planning for Baird’s Private Wealth Management. “I bet more wealth is transferred this year than in the past 10 years combined.” Jonathan Blattmachr, a principal of Eagle River Advisors.
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