Five Year-End Tips for Gift and Estate Planning

As another year comes to a close and we prepare for a new beginning in 2012, here are 5 year-end tips for gift and estate planning:

  1. Review your estate planning documents. This is most important. Consider if any update should be made. It is also a good time to check titling and ownership of assets as well as beneficiary designations.
  2. Do you have a potentially taxable estate? If so, be sure to consider making annual gifts utilizing the $13,000 annual gift exclusion for 2011. You may also want to take advantage of the lifetime gift exemption, which, for 2011 and 2012, is $5 million for individuals and $10 million for married couples.
  3. Tis the season. The current federal gift tax rate is 35 percent for 2011 and 2012. The lowest it’s been for several decades. A gift above the exemption amount could be used to transfer wealth with tax savings.
  4. Elect the spousal unused exclusion amount. Currently, $5 million. Does your estate plan address this election? You may consider revising your will to direct the personal representative to make the election without any payment from the surviving spouse for having made the election. If your spouse died in 2011, you must file Form 706 to utilize the deceased spousal unused exemption amount.
  5. More charity. If you are charitably inclined, the ability to make IRA charitable rollovers still exists for 2011.

For more information, please contact Mark E. Kellogg at 517.377.0890 or at The above information is not intended to be legal, tax, or investment advice. Please consult with your attorney and visit

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