Although Republicans will soon hold the Presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress it is not yet clear what that will mean for estate planning.
While campaigning, President-elect Donald Trump made several proposals that concern estate planning and how it will operate in the future. For example, he proposed to eliminate the estate tax.
For wealthy estates this approach would shift the focus from planning for the estate tax to asset protection planning, as the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog points out in "The Future of Estate Planning Under President Trump."
As the Republicans also maintained majorities in the House and Senate during the election it might seem reasonable to assume that Trump's estate tax plans and his other estate planning proposals will soon go into effect. However, there are a couple of reasons that assumption is not necessarily a good one.
The first thing to consider is that President-elect Trump made many proposals to cut taxes while campaigning. Some economists have suggested that all of his numbers do not add up and his tax cutting proposals would add an unsustainable amount to the deficit. Trump disputes these claims, but some congressional Republicans could seek to reduce the amount of tax cuts if they are convinced by the economists.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Republicans do not have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Due to the quirks in Senate rules, it is possible for tax cuts to be passed in a way that cannot be filibustered. However, Republicans may be wary of doing so if they can get Senate Democrats to cooperate on other issues for which they cannot avoid a filibuster.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Nov. 20, 2016) "The Future of Estate Planning Under President Trump."