Lawyers never say die when it comes to Congress fiddling with estate-tax rules, but as those rules currently stand, only a very small percentage of the estates of high-net-worth investors and/or family business owners will face taxes.
"The $10 million to $11 million combined exemption eliminates a whole lot of small businesses from paying estate taxes," said John Wheeler, certified financial planner and a senior financial consultant at Castle Wealth Advisors.
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For family businesses, however, taxes are not the only consideration.
The estate-tax savings that many small-business owners anticipated when they transferred ownership of their business assets to a trust vehicle may never materialize, but the benefits of control and certainty about how assets will be transferred to family members, charities and other individuals continue to make trusts an attractive option.
"Trusts are not just for tax purposes but also for management purposes of a family business," claimed David Neubert, senior family wealth advisor for GenSpring Family Offices, which advises ultra-high-net-worth families. "They continue to play an important role for families," he said, adding, "Even if the tax situation wasn't what it was, wealthy families would still likely use them."