How Might the Election Impact Estate Planning

How Might the Election Impact Estate Planning

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

There is never any certainty. Even if candidates promise specific programs, much can happen between the making of those promises and when the bill actually gets passed through Congress. So here are a few general comments, subject to significant caveats:

What to do if McCain is Elected:

  • Estate tax will likely have a large $3-5M exclusion.
  • Consider term insurance as a less costly way to address estate tax costs until the exclusion rises (if the larger exclusion will cover your estate).
  • Plan to use a bypass trust to remove assets from the surviving spouse’s estate.
  • Perhaps be more conservative (unless your estate is well beyond the exemption amounts available) in gift planning.

What to do if Obama is Elected:

  • Likely the tax will remain intact as is, perhaps even a lower exclusion.
  • Plan more aggressively now to reduce your estate
  • Consider gifts to 529 plans,
  • Buy permanent insurance in a trust.
  • More aggressive planning in case the exclusion declines instead of increases.

The above is a summary of a radio show on MMFN Money Matters Financial Network, on June 30, 2008 with host Gary Goldberg, of Gary Goldberg Planning Services, Inc. in Montebello, New York, and his guest Martin M. Shenkman, Esq. an estate planner in Paramus, New Jersey. Listen to the audio clip of this segment on

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