William Byrnes' Tax, Wealth, and Risk Intelligence

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Life Insurance and the Generation—Skipping Transfer Tax

Posted by William Byrnes on November 15, 2010

Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?  Provides details about one concept that wealth managers often overlook, the generation skipping transfer tax.  Also presents general concept themes and examples to show effective uses of life insurance and trust in consideration of the tax. 

In general, the generation-skipping transfer tax is levied on the value of life insurance that is transferred during the grantors lifetime or at death, to a skip person. [1]  The GST is levied in addition to estate and gift taxes. [2]

The generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax “scheduled to resume in 2011 at a rate of 55%, with a $1 million exemption. The rate was 45% in 2009, with a $3.5 million exemption.” [3]  For more information about the expiring tax cuts and new tax rates, see our blogticle: AdvisorFYI: Estate and Gift Taxes, Tax Cuts and More

“Certain direct gifts that qualify for the gift tax exclusion may also qualify for an annual exclusion that can be applied against the GST tax.” [4]  Many wealth managers encourage clients to take full advantage of the annual exclusion to avoid GST tax considerations at some later point.  However, “the expiration of the GST tax has complicated matters for wealthy individuals hoping to make 2010 gifts in trust that skip generations.” [5]  The use of trusts in consideration of the GST tax is discussed below.  For examples of insurance uses with trusts generally, see our previous blogticle: Trusts that Purchase Life Insurance; Known Formally as the “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

Please link to AdvisorFYI for the entire blogticle.

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