You may also wish to leverage gifts of your gift and GST tax exemption amounts by engaging in sales to grantor trusts. Other estate planning techniques, including intra-family loans, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and split-interest charitable trusts, continue to be effective wealth transfer tools as well. In January 2018, the Applicable Federal Rate for use with a sale to a grantor trust or for an intra-family loan with a nine-year term will be 2.17%. The Section 7520 “hurdle rate” for GRATs and certain split-interest trusts will be 2.6%. It is important to note that certain techniques work better in a low interest-rate environment, so it may be advantageous to act in the near future before interest rates rise further.

Sarah Cullen is a tax partner at HCVT with over 25 years of public accounting experience and provides tax consulting and compliance services to high net worth individuals and their related entities. She advises her clients on charitable giving and trust and estate planning. Sarah also has extensive experience providing tax consulting and compliance services to nonprofit organizations including private foundations and public charities. Connect with Sarah at

HCVT is one of the fastest growing CPA firms in the nation validating the technical experience of its team and approach to client service. The firm wprovides tax, audit and assurance, business management, and mergers & acquisition services. The team consists of over 550 members, including over 100 partners and principals. HCVT serves its clients from eight offices in Southern California and offices in Northern California, Ft. Worth, Texas and Park City, Utah. To learn more about HCVT, see

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