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Education on New Trust Techniques is Essential for Families as Gift and Estate Tax Deadlines Near, Says Hemenway & Barnes


Hemenway & Barnes, one of Boston's most storied legal and fiduciary firms, today issued a discussion paper urging families to explore new trust options in advance of changes to the gift and estate tax codes. Exemptions on gift and estate taxes are expected to revert from the current level of $5.12 million per individual ($10.24 million for married couples) to $1 million on January 1, 2013.

The paper, "Making the move on gift and estate tax: building the right trust," asserts that high net worth families are missing a historic opportunity to take advantage of temporary incentives for large gifts. Surveys indicate they remain reluctant even though they stand to lose significant tax benefits at the turn of the year.

Education is key to removing that reluctance. Families should be aware that the type of trust they deploy and the state in which it is sited can help them maintain more control over their wealth.

“It is a striking scenario: $10 million in cash, property, or business assets given as a gift on December 31 is free from federal tax. Just one day later, it may cost the grantor millions,” writes Michael Puzo, partner at Hemenway & Barnes. “The question for many families is not whether to use the credit, but how to capture its potential by building the most effective financial plan...It is no easy task to create and maintain a vehicle that can adequately address their unique situation and their personal values. The landscape is complex, but it is also navigable with the right knowledge.”

For more information, please visit Hemenway & Barnes' News and Resources page or download the paper directly here.

About Hemenway & Barnes

Based in Boston, Hemenway & Barnes LLP has served for 150 years as trusted counsel to the region's high net worth families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The firm is uniquely designed as a home for legal and financial expertise, with a focus on providing each client with services that are specifically tailored and results-oriented. Its affiliate, Hemenway Trust Company LLC, is a New Hampshire based, private trust company offering a full range of wealth advisory and management services. For more information, visit

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