Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced legislation that, if passed, would have a significant impact on the transfer tax system of the United States. The proposed legislation includes the following changes:

  • Estate tax exemptions of $3.5 million
  • Gift tax exemptions of $1 million
  • $20K annual gift tax exclusion
  • 50-year limit on Generation-Skipping trusts (GST)
  • Grantor trust inclusion in the taxable estate
  • No discounts for Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) funded with non-business assets
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATS) would be a minimum of 10-years and have remainder requirements.


There is no way of knowing what, if any, of these proposals will make it into the final legislation. For now, the legislation is prospective and will apply once passed (not retroactive). The legislation is unlikely to receive any Republican support, which means it will have to be passed in the reconciliation process and along party lines. October seems to be the most likely time frame.

What should you do? First, don’t panic! We will continue to monitor this legislation. Second, clients with an individual net worth above $3.5 million and married couples with a net worth above $7 million should watch for updates on this legislation. Finally, if your wealth is significantly above either of these thresholds, we should talk about options you should consider in the next few months.

We can take you through a few simple steps that can result in significant estate/gift tax savings. Please contact the Probate Team at 937.223.1130 or

AUTHOR: John Clough

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