Prepare for 2026 Estate Planning With SPATs, SLATs and DAPTs

The estate tax exemption is set to drop significantly in 2026, but these alternative tongue-twisting tax-savvy trusts could help.

An older couple on a sofa go over paperwork and have a laptop open.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In today’s world of bank failures, real estate and stock market declines, bombastic cyclones, tornadoes, floods and atmospheric rivers, the only thing for certain appears to be the uncertainty and potential for change in the future. This potential for uncertainty underscores the need for flexibility in the seemingly black-and-white world of estate planning and the tax-efficient transfer of wealth. A gift needs to be “completed” in order to achieve estate tax savings.

That said, current law provides a robust lifetime estate tax exemption in the amount of $12.92 million per person ($25.84 million for a married couple). Current law also provides that this exemption will fall to $5 million per person ($10 million per married couple) on Jan. 1, 2026. The 2026 estate tax exemption is adjusted for inflation and is estimated to be $6.08 million per person ($12.16 million for married couple) for 2026.

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DAPT States
MissouriNevadaNew HampshireOhio
OklahomaRhode IslandSouth DakotaUtah
VirginiaWest VirginiaWyomingTennessee
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Community Property States
NevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew Mexico
North CarolinaOregonSouth DakotaTennessee
TexasWashingtonWisconsinRow 4 - Cell 3

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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John M. Goralka
Founder, The Goralka Law Firm

Founder of The Goralka Law Firm, John M. Goralka assists business owners, real estate owners and successful families to achieve their enlightened dreams by better protecting their assets, minimizing income and estate tax and resolving messes and transitions to preserve, protect and enhance their legacy. John is one of few California attorneys certified as a Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in both Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate.