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“Blue Wave” Spending Tax Changes Expected

| May 11, 2021 | Tax Law

The current governmental spending, tax, financial and political climate is provoking great concern regarding controlling and preserving assets. Be proactive in protecting your wealth – consider reviewing your estate, business and tax planning options in advance of the expected “Blue Wave” Spending + Tax changes. The time to plan is now.

Transferring assets in-trust can be a great way to minimize liability exposure and take advantage of all-time-high estate tax/gift exemptions while allowing access to funds. One method to achieve these goals is a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT).

How It Works

Generally speaking, a SLAT is a multi-generational trust established by one spouse (grantor) to benefit the other, as well as others not limited to children or grandchildren. The grantor transfers assets, via gift or sale, to a SLAT for the primary benefit of his or her spouse, allowing the grantor to properly plan for his or her estate/gift tax exemption. With proper SLAT planning, the spouse benefiting from the transfer can be both the SLAT’s trustee and the primary beneficiary. This means the benefiting spouse can maintain access to assets protected in the trust. Further, there are no adverse income tax consequences with SLATs while the grantor is alive.


  • Protects future appreciation of assets in the SLAT from estate/gift and other transfer taxes
  • Allows for more control and efficient management of assets
  • Allows for the efficient use of the 2021 $11.7M estate/gift tax exemption
  • Provides asset protection from mental disability, creditors, divorces, etc.
  • Allows the benefiting spouse and other beneficiaries access to the SLAT assets while alive
  • Utilizes the generation-skipping transfer tax (“GSTT”) exemption, avoiding transfer taxes over multiple generations
  • Can be utilized with discount planning to move additional wealth among generations, by way of income tax-free discount sale transactions
  • Yields additional advantages when leveraged with proper life insurance planning

Why Now?

The current estate/gift tax exemption is at an all-time high of $11.7M, offering unprecedented opportunities for high net worth families to reduce their transfer tax exposure. The expected “Blue Wave” Spending + Tax changes could significantly lower the estate/gift tax exemption, thereby eradicating or diluting this opportunity. Any transfers made using today’s high estate/gift tax exemption amounts are likely protected from future taxes if the high exemption amounts are reduced. Now is the time to review your plan.

Kelleher + Holland, LLC can provide you with the guidance you may need to navigate the many complex estate planning opportunities available. For assistance with strategies that can benefit you most, please contact one of our estate planning attorneys at 847-242-1777 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.