As I walked into the office, I noticed that the market was already down 100 points today. It’s been doing that a lot lately. And then it goes back up a little. And then back down. While the market is busy doing gymnastics and we’re all concerned about our portfolios and retirement plans, the one thing that shouldn’t get lost in the haze of bad economic news is that now is a great time to do some estate planning.
Setting aside taxable gifts for the moment, let’s focus on a strategy that works best when assets have a built in potential to increase in value and interest rates are low: the grantor retained annuity trust, or a GRAT.
At its most basic level, a GRAT works like this: you