February 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 59


February 26, 2021

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Keep Calm and Plan On: Estate & Gift Changes Ahead

The current federal unified estate and gift tax exemption of $11.7 million per person is set to automatically revert to approximately $6 million on January 1, 2026. However, with a new president and rebalancing in the House and Senate, tax reform measures may lower the exemption before 2026. 

Policy commentators speculate on possible exemption amounts as high as $6 million and as low as $3 million, and even surmise that there could be an end to the unified credit, resulting in a $3.5 million exemption from estate tax and a $1 million exemption from gift tax, for example. Another possibility includes elimination of the basis “step up” at death, which for many taxpayers could be a more costly change than reducing tax exemptions. Further speculation surrounds whether such tax changes could be made retroactive to the beginning of the year enacted.

While any projections are conjecture at present, it makes good sense to consider the potential effect of such changes on current estate plans. 

©2020 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 20



About this Author

Marianna Putnam Liddell Trusts & Estates Practice Pierce Atwood Portland, ME

Molly Liddell works with clients to help them plan for complicated personal transitions, which can occur at marriage, birth of a child, transfer of a business, death, or through gifting to family members or charitable organizations. Her practice involves estate planning, estate administration, trust administration, business succession planning, and the tax planning related to these areas.

Molly is dedicated to helping clients craft the legacy they leave behind for their families and for other institutions that are important to them, such as charitable organizations or family...

(207) 791-1153
Jana Magnuson Trusts & Estates Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME

Jana Magnuson deeply engages in her work with individuals (including singles and widowed individuals), couples (including non-married couples and same-sex couples) and families (including young families with new children) to prepare solid and flexible wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney and health care directives. She also assists her clients with specific objectives such as creating special needs trusts and tax shelter trusts; transferring business holdings and real estate; making gifts; structuring premarital agreements; and securing guardianships and conservatorships.


Bonnie L. Ball Wahrer Trusts & Estates Attorney Pierce Atwood Portland, ME

Bonnie Ball Wahrer is an associate in Pierce Atwood’s Trusts and Estates Practice Group where she represents individuals, families, fiduciaries, and institutional clients in all aspects of trust and estate planning, administration, controversy, and litigation.  

Prior to joining Pierce Atwood, Bonnie gained valuable insight into state appellate litigation as law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice Leigh I. Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and federal pre-trial management and trial litigation experience as law clerk to the Honorable John H. Rich III of the United States...