A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

IMPORTANT Federal Estate and Gift Tax update

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Estate and Gift Tax Rules May be Changing for the Worse…

Take Advantage of the Current Rules before the end of 2012

As you may know, President Obama released his 2013 Budget Proposal on Monday. Included in the proposal are changes to the estate tax, gift tax and generation skipping-transfer tax (GST tax), as well as limitations on highly effective planning techniques such as valuation discounts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), and sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGTs). Although these proposals are not yet law, they indicate the direction the Administration is moving with regard to estate and gift taxation. The highlights of the Budget Proposal are outlined below:

Estate Tax

– The amount exempted from the estate tax would permanently decrease from $5 million to $3.5 million.

– The rate at which any amount in excess of the exemption amount is taxed would increase from 35% to 45%.

– Portability (the ability of the surviving spouse to apply any unused estate tax exemption amount to the assets in their estate) would be made permanent.

Gift Tax

– The lifetime exemption amount for gifts would permanently decrease from $5 million to $1 million.


– The amount exempted from GST tax would permanently decrease from $5 million to $3.5 million.

– Trusts could no longer be exempt from GST tax for unlimited multiple generations. 90 years after the creation of a trust that distributes to skip persons, the GST exemption allocated to the trust would terminate.

Valuation Discounts

– Discounts would be limited for transfers of an interest in a family-controlled entity (such as a Family Limited Partnership or Family Limited Liability Company) to a member of the family.

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts and Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts

– GRATs and sales to IDGTs would no longer be effective estate planning strategies.

– GRATs would be required to have a term of at least 10 years and a maximum term of the life expectancy of the annuitant plus 10 years. The remainder interest would be required to have a value greater than 0 when the interest was created and the annuity could not decrease during the GRAT term.

– Appreciated assets that have been sold to an IDGT would be included in the grantor’s gross estate for estate tax purposes.

– Distributions from IDGTs could be considered taxable gifts.

If you have any questions regarding the Budget Proposal, please contact us at 410.828.7775 or email John Robinson at: jrobinson@janesimslaw.com.


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims


Contact: Frank Campbell


Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.