Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill - June 2020

‘Silver Linings’ Expert Advice on Estate Taxes Amid COVID-19

In his weekly column, Craig Hersch offers expertise and guidance to those considering how this crisis could impact their estate and what positive actions they can take in light of the turmoil and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a snippet from the column “Silver Linings.” You can read the full version at If you’re concerned about estate taxes, then the stock market drop related to the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity. Many who watch the market are sickened by its precipitous decline this past spring. Yet, if you’re concerned about federal estate taxes, nowmight be an opportunity to act. Everyone’s stock portfolio has declined, and so have real estate values and those of closely held businesses. Discounted values on operating assets held in LLCs, partnerships, and S corporations may be as much as 75% lower than they were only a fewmonths ago. Combine the loss of value with extremely low interest rates, and you have leveraging strategies that can minimize lifetime gifts. Now, for example, is an excellent time to consider grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), qualified personal residence trusts

(QPRTs), and sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts (IDGTs).

You might believe that today’s high federal gift and estate tax exemption of $11.54 million means you don’t have to worry about these things. Consider this: First, the current exemption will expire on Dec. 31, 2025. Second, the exemption may be lowered before then, depending upon which party wins theWhite House and the Congress in November’s elections. Our federal government is spending trillions of dollars for stimulus over the next several months to head off a recession. It will have to recover that money. Tax rates are certainly going to increase. It’s easier to tax transfers of wealth as opposed to income. So now might be the least expensive time to consider wealth transfers. The best wealth transfer techniques are designed with the client’s goals and concerns in mind. The conversation should always start with what the client wants to achieve, not with the advantages and disadvantages of any given strategy. There’s much to consider, even in these dark hours. As always, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney before implementing any strategy.

P a l e o S a u s a


Bacon may be a paleo favorite for breakfast, but this hearty sausage meal can be enjoyed any time of day and is the perfect way to mix things up!


• • •

3 tbsp coconut oil

• • •

4 green onions, diced

1 lb mild Italian sausage

10 eggs, whisked

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and grated

Black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: 1. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. 2. Crumble sausage into the skillet and cook until browned. 3. Add sweet potato and cook until tender. 4. Add green onion and sauté for 2–3 minutes. 5. Spread this mixture evenly throughout the skillet. Pour eggs over mixture and sprinkle black pepper over top. 6. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes or until bubbly. 7. Transfer skillet to oven and cook under broiler on low until frittata is cooked through.

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