According to the Tax Foundation, tax policy is shaping up to be one of the major issues of the 2016 presidential campaign.


Let’s first review the basics of estate tax law as it now stands:

The IRS website defines the tax on estates:
“The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death…..The total of all these items is your ‘Gross Estate’.  The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets. …Certain deductions are allowed in arriving at the ‘Taxable Estate’”, the IRS continues.

For the 2016 tax year, filing an estate tax return (Form 706) is required for estates with combined gross assets (and prior taxable gifts) of $5,450,000. Amounts that exceed that limit will be taxed at a rate of 18% – 40%.

As Selena Maranjian writes in The Motley Fool“It’s worth taking some time to see where the presidential candidates stand on taxes – because depending on who wins, there’s a good chance your taxes will go up or down.”
Estate taxes:

  • Hillary Clinton, according to Maranjian, “would tax more estates, but only those valued at more than $3.5 million, and only on the value above $3.5 million.  That means the Clinton plan would affect more estates.
  • Donald Trump would eliminate the estate tax entirely, Maranjian reports.  “This will help wealthy people pass a lot of money on to their heirs tax-free,” she says.

Charitable contributions:

  • Hillary Clinton, explains Forbes, wants to cap all deductions, including charitable deductions, at 28%.
  • Donald Trump’s tax plan would reduce itemized deductions (including the one for charitable giving) by 3% for couples earning more than $309,900

At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we often remark that life’s journey is fraught with change – marriage, children, a new business, retirement, incapacity, death. These changes require careful planning to protect the people most important to you and the assets you worked a lifetime to achieve.

With the upcoming change in our country’s administration, we expect changes.  And, no matter which candidate wins the election, at Geyer & Associates we’ll continue to offer a full range of options for families as they adjust their planning to those changing circumstances. 
– by  Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer  & Associates blog team