Tax Planning For Winery Owners

As the owner of a winery, both succession issues and tax issues may play a predominant role in your estate and gift tax planning.

I am an internationally recognized tax planning expert (in 2015 I was cited by the UK based Global Law Experts as the CA International Tax Planning Law Firm of the Year (2015) with the same honor from the UK based Corporate International Tax Magazine in 2016, please see my website.

After consultations with my colleague, Alan Kaye, a national life insurance expert, I have decided to publicly release a proprietary tax strategy I have devised for clients with the hope of clarifying a very complex area of tax law for clients who may have need of this tax advice. Specifically, how to ensure that your estate goes to your designated heirs without being decimated by estate taxes (or plundered by unknown 3rd party creditors).

I recommend the following tax planning strategy (with asset protection):

1) A Husband and Wife transfer the maximum ($10.9m) to an irrevocable trust (which must have an independent 3rd party trustee who may be a trusted advisor or family member who is not a parent or child e.g. niece, nephew, son or daughter-in law; I do not recommend institutional trustees who may be both expensive and non-responsive);

2) The $10.9m transfer exhausts the 2016 gift tax exclusion ($5.45m each spouse). The key to the strategy is that the appreciation on the $10.9m transfer is exempt from the 40% federal (US) estate tax. So the estate does not have to sell assets to pay the estate tax (often at a discounted sales price).

3) In addition, the transfer to an irrevocable trust, absent a fraudulent conveyance, may exempt the funds from creditor attachment.

4) If a designated amount of the funds (e.g. $5m) are invested in a properly designed life insurance policy (known as a non-modified endowment contract) the funds and earnings may be accessed tax-free and the policy may be used for income tax planning benefits annually including funding charitable gifts.

If this tax strategy is of interest to you please contact me by e-mail to for a free consultation (I will waive my $5k consultation fee).

I look forward to hearing from you.


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