Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP

Palo Alto Estate and Gift Tax Planning Attorneys

Strategic Wealth Preservation and Taxation Guidance in the Bay Area and All of California

As of 2024, each individual can protect up to $13.61 million in estate value from estate and gift taxes. Should someone die, this amount is shielded from estate tax exposure. Alternatively, this amount can be given away without being subject to gift taxes. 

The federal estate tax rate is currently set at 40%. This is a dramatic and punishing tax that can threaten legacies and how much you can leave to your beneficiaries. At Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP, we believe in the maxim, “Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.” This means that you should take advantage of tax and estate planning opportunities if your estate is even approaching the exempted threshold. Keep in mind, your estimate for the size of your estate may be well below its actual value.

Our Palo Alto estate and gift tax planning lawyers have over thirty-five years of experience in this complex and often-vexing area of the law. Our nationally recognized team has a track record of success, saving many hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes for our clients. We can help you make the most of proactive and protective planning opportunities and develop a comprehensive strategy tailored to your unique situation. 

If you are concerned about federal estate taxes or gift taxes, do not wait to discuss your situation with our firm. Contact us online or call (650) 683-9200 today.


Our legacy can help you walk through the legal process and provide peace of mind.

Our Lawyers Are Leaders in Estate and Gift Tax Planning

If you are fortunate enough to build a financial legacy you wish to pass on to your loved ones, you will likely need to actively engage in some level of estate and gift tax planning. However, if your estate’s value is not likely to exceed $13.61 million in 2024, you do not necessarily have to worry about this component of estate planning - at least in the near term. We can advise whether protective planning measures are necessary for your situation.

Your goal should be to reduce or even eliminate estate tax liability. Assets placed in certain types of estate planning arrangements will not be counted when determining an estate’s value for tax purposes. 

Our Palo Alto estate and gift tax planning attorneys can assist you with many types of tools that can reduce or eliminate tax liability, including:

  • Family Limited Partnerships. A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a unique type of business entity that functions as a holding company for multiple members of a family. An LLP’s general partners, typically parents, are majority shareholders and are responsible for directly managing the affairs of the entity. Limited partners, typically children, own shares but take no role in managing the business. General partners can gift shares of the FLP to limited partners, allowing them to share in the company’s profits and other gains. These gifts will be tax-free so long as their value does not exceed the annual gift tax exclusion, allowing for transfers of wealth unencumbered by many tax obligations. All value associated with the shares that you gift to other members of your family will also not be counted when calculating estate value for tax purposes.
  • Irrevocable Trusts. Family Protection Trusts – which are conceptually similar to dynasty trusts – are irrevocable trusts designed to preserve and pass on generational wealth. When properly implemented, a Family Protection Trust can facilitate transfers of wealth that avoid estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes that might otherwise be applicable. Because these trusts are irrevocable, trustors will not have control over trust assets once they have been placed in the trust. Family Protection Trusts can also achieve asset protection by shielding property from creditors and litigation claims. 
  • Strategic Lifetime Gifts. As of 2024, the annual gift tax exclusion is set at $18,000, or $36,000 for married couples. This limit applies per recipient, meaning you can give up to $18,000 in assets (or $36,000 for married couples) to any individual party, tax-free. If you wish, you can give $18,000 gifts to multiple parties in any year without incurring any gift taxes. Lifetime gifts can be used to reduce the overall value of your estate – thus potentially avoiding federal estate taxes – while passing assets and wealth to children and other loved ones.  
  • Certified Specialists in Estate Planning & Elder Law
  • Co-Founder of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys
  • Pioneers in Elder Law & Estate Planning
  • Hundreds of Millions of Clients' Dollars in Taxes Saved
  • Thousands of Families in the Community Served
  • Over 35 Years of Serving the Bay Area
We Can Help You Build a Comprehensive Plan

While a revocable living trust is a generally central component of any robust estate plan, assets placed in these trusts do count toward estate value calculations. However, revocable trusts can be drafted to provide a considerable level of protection for married couples, children, and grandchildren. Our Palo Alto estate and gift tax planning lawyers at Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP can evaluate your current circumstances and develop a sophisticated estate and tax plan that works to secure the best possible outcomes for you and your loved ones. 

One of our founders, Michael Gilfix, authored Beat Estate Tax Forever: Planning for Future Generations. This intensely practical book identifies dozens of planning opportunities and actions you can take to reduce or eliminate estate tax exposure. We invite you to order your copy today. 

Call (650) 683-9200 or contact us online to start exploring estate and gift tax avoidance strategies. 


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