Estate Asset Basis Adjustment Planning: Trust Transfers, Distribution Strategies and Powers of Appointment

Minimizing Income Tax on Estate and Trust Assets Through Tax Basis Management

A live 90-minute CLE/CPE webinar with interactive Q&A

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

Early Registration Discount Deadline, Friday, May 25, 2018

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE/CPE webinar will provide estate planning counsel and fiduciary advisers with an advanced practical guide to basis adjustment techniques and strategies to minimize income tax on estate and trust assets. The panel will discuss various grantor trust transfers to reduce the income tax impact of appreciated assets, detail strategies using powers of appointment to maximize basis after the death of the grantor, and outline which asset types benefit most from basis adjustment planning and transactions.


The increased exemption amount to estate tax liability passed in the 2017 tax reform law emphasizes the need for estate planners to minimize income taxes for beneficiaries on assets passed through inheritances and trusts. As fewer estates are subject to estate or gift tax, planners and fiduciary advisers must focus on managing tax basis to minimize the tax cost of transferring assets to beneficiaries.

In most instances, highly appreciated assets derive the most benefit from basis adjustments, particularly in cases involving real estate assets with zero or negative basis, as well as those properties which have taken bonus depreciation while in the hand of the grantor.

Where a grantor has multiple trust structures, low-basis assets should be held in grantor trusts to take advantage of basis step-up upon the grantor’s death, while assets with a higher tax basis can be kept in non-grantor trusts with less tax impact.

Basis adjustment techniques include sales and exchanges to and between trusts, structuring powers of appointment to ensure tax-efficient distribution strategies, and giving trustees broad powers of distribution to ensure that lower basis assets are passed out of the trust. This often means moving assets to cause their inclusion in the estate.

Planners must be careful, however, to avoid creating other adverse tax consequences in designing a basis adjustment strategy.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a practical guide to executing an estate asset basis adjustment strategy to minimize income tax in a wealth transfer plan.



  1. Identifying low basis assets subject to potential income tax consequences
  2. Transferring low basis/appreciated assets into the estate to take advantage of step-up at death
  3. Creation of estate tax inclusion
    1. Swapping or sale/purchase between grantor trust and non-grantor trust
    2. Granting powers of appointments in trust documents
    3. Distribution strategies
    4. Delaware tax trap
  4. Avoiding discounting of family partnership holdings
  5. Potential tax risks of basis adjustment strategies


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • Which class of assets benefit from basis adjustment transactions?
  • Using powers of appointment to achieve inclusion of low basis assets in a non-taxable estate to achieve basis step-up
  • Structuring sale and exchange transactions between grantor and non-grantor trusts to maximize tax advantages through basis management
  • Tax and other risks involved in basis adjustment transactions and strategies


Blase, James
James G. Blase

Blase & Associates

Mr. Blase's practice focuses on tax, estate and business succession planning, including preparation of...  |  Read More

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