Circle Stairs, Ladder of Success Concept
Private Client Tax Services

Estate and Gift Tax Planning

Develop and maintain the perfect plan


Questions to Consider

You’ve been successful and your net worth has grown — now what?

If you have amassed a certain amount of wealth, these questions may be on your mind:

  • How will my assets be managed when I die?
  • Will my family be financially secure when I am not around?
  • How will any estate taxes be funded?
  • Should trusts be used to protect my assets and my family?
  • Should I consider buying life insurance?
  • What do I want my legacy to be?

Estate and gift tax planning is first and foremost about planning for the future disposition of the wealth you’ve accumulated over your life so far. Gift planning is about transfers during your lifetime and estate transfers will take place after your death.

The strategy behind transferring certain amounts tax-free during your life and/or at death is the core of effective tax planning.

A skilled approach will balance the dynamics of taxes, business succession planning, cash flow, and family needs.


Planning with Smith + Howard

When planning how to transfer wealth, consulting with an experienced tax advisor is important. This will ensure all of your decisions are done in a tax efficient manner and you are effectively getting your assets to the individuals, groups, or entities of your choosing.

Keep in mind: business and family situations change. It is important that you revisit your plan every three to five years or after any major shift in tax laws or your life.

Our sophisticated, consultative approach ensures you consider the tax and non-tax implications of your plan, enabling you to fulfill your goals and preserve your estate.

It takes a lifetime to build your estate and legacy. Make planning a priority. Let us help.

Gherkin building exterior abstract

Estate Tax Planning

How will your estate be taxed at your death?

Will there be sufficient liquid assets to pay taxes?

What is your specific plan for property to be transferred?

Is your family situation complex, requiring creative solutions to meet your objectives?

Estate planning requires computing the potential financial implications of your decisions, weighing those implications in terms of your personal, overall estate goals.

Documents such as wills and trusts can then be drafted by an attorney to ensure that your plan is implemented based on your personal desires.

For wealth preservation that will transcend generations, your Smith + Howard tax advisors will coordinate this process with legal and other professionals.

We will identify strategies related to your business and personal assets, including review of trusts, liquidity needs, philanthropic planning and more.

We are equipped to guide you in all of these matters, ensuring your wealth not only benefits you now, but has a positive impact on future generations.

Gift Tax Planning

An important aspect of estate planning is the consideration of making gifts during your lifetime.

Why would you want to give away your assets while you are still alive?

Some reasons include:

  • The appreciation of assets that are gifted now will not be included in your estate when you die.
  • Your heirs can enjoy their inheritance while you are alive to help guide them.
  • Tax laws may change in the future.

There are many ways to transfer assets, including outright gifts, gifts through trusts, bargain sales and using family partnerships, to name a few.

With us, you will receive a thoughtful analysis that reveals the tax impacts of using various gifting strategies. In addition to looking at the tax implications, we consider your financial needs and what you need to maintain your lifestyle.

There are numerous ways to proactively avoid paying taxes on gifts during your life as well as ways to safeguard your wealth as your family grows. We will help you navigate this important area and develop a plan that can grow and change with you.


How can you ensure that the transfer of your assets during life and death are carried out in accordance with your plans?

If set up properly, trusts can provide this assurance.

Trusts are an important part of planning for gifts during your lifetime and bequests at your death as they provide the rules for how your wealth is ultimately distributed.

Trusts can protect your assets from unplanned events such as divorce, bankruptcy, and competency concerns. Once you determine that trusts should be part of your planning, it is important to review the terms of the trust.

  • Who will be your trustee?
  • Who are the beneficiaries?
  • How and when will distributions be made?
  • Who will pay the taxes on the income?

Your tax team at Smith + Howard understands that these and other considerations should be factored into the drafting of any trust you set up.

We can work with you to determine if the use of trusts would be appropriate for you and your family.

What clients are saying

“Their mindset is different. They’re constantly looking to see what our objectives are and they’re giving us the best possible advice and keeping up with all the rules and regulations. It’s like having an expert looking over your shoulder with what you’re doing.”

Raj Anand, CEO, Southern States, LLC

The Smith + Howard Private Client Services Team

We have been an established firm for more than five decades and we like to say that tax is in our DNA. This is because tax is foundational to helping our clients maximize their wealth.

Having the right tax strategy will have a positive impact on your financial health and well being.

Our solutions take into account your big-picture goals, and we will provide rich and meaningful counsel to ensure you are positioned to meet the long-term goals for you and your family.

Debbie R. Torrance
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I start every day reading a daily tax update so that I am a smarter and better tax professional every day. I also read more than 50 books every year of all types to be a smarter and better leader. I feel that excellence is the foundation to living up to our client and people values.

Marc A. Azar
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Our reputation is the most valuable asset and helps attract top talent and clients that are seeking long term relationships. Without integrity, we can’t be an excellent firm to strive to best serve our clients and take care of our people including where the firm can transcend to the next generation.

Mark E. Abrams
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Ultimately, doing the little things the right way when no one is watching every day is the path to achieving success. It permeates throughout all interactions with our people, clients and community. I strive to make the most out of my interactions and relationships with the goal of adding value wherever and whenever I can.

Cas L. Pittman
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I find it incredibly fulfilling to be a trusted advisor and partner with my clients. I love providing solutions and opportunities to help them meet current business and personal goals, as well as being a part of their family team to bring all around long-term success. It’s inspiring to see how the success of our clients provides success to their employees and communities.

Tim F. Agnew
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Serving clients has always been a passion, but over the last 10 years of my career I have really grown to enjoy helping our people grow and develop. It is extremely rewarding to see people who you hired as an entry level associate advance to manager or partner level and know that you helped them get there.

M. Christine Ratliff
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

My guiding principle in life is to live with integrity. One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is ‘Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’ With this thought always within me, I know that I will be able to serve my family, community and clients to the best of my abilities.

Dailey Dewling
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

As someone who started here as an intern while still working on my undergraduate degree, I've really felt encouraged and supported in every step of my career. I'm passionate about helping my coworkers feel the same way, because without the best people we cannot be the best firm.

Nicole Davis
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I always put our clients first and try to be as proactive as possible. Our jobs are a very important part of our client’s lives, and I want them to know we recognize and respect that, as well as appreciate them.

Sabre Linahan
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

We have an incredible employee base - people who are smart, dedicated and excited to serve our clients. I am proud to work alongside our people, help them learn and grow, and introduce them to our clients to continue expanding the relationships our clients have within our firm.

Slayton Gilmore
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I appreciate how much importance Smith + Howard places on its people. We work together as a team and career development is deeply ingrained in everything we do.

Scott Whalen
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

Life is too short to deal with people who don't commit to making the most of every opportunity to help others. I believe doing the right thing and committing to serving with passion will bring success to our firm, our clients and our community.

Andrew Hedrich
Senior Manager
Smith + Howard Advisory LLC

I constantly seek opportunities to connect, develop, and embolden our people to passionately serve our team, our clients, and our community.

A Firm of Distinction

Average years tenure of principles, managers, and partners
4,000 +
Tax clients globally served
Consecutive years recognized as Forbes Best Tax and Accounting Firm in America

Additional Private Client Services

Our services include:

  • Tax planning and compliance
  • Family office services
  • Personal financial planning
  • Charitable giving
  • Planning for entrepreneurs
Outsourced tax provision

Explore other tax services:

Business Tax

Our roots going back over half a century were grounded in tax. Today, while we can serve every aspect of your business’ financial life, we still stand on a strong tax foundation.

Learn More

Indirect Tax

When consumers purchase goods and services, they pay indirect taxes.

Learn More

Private Client Services

As a high-net-worth individual, you need a partner working as hard to protect and grow your wealth as you did to accumulate it – a partner who is on the same page as you about how your life, family and goals evolve over time and commits to preserving what you’ve built.

Learn More

Let's Talk.

Contact us to learn more about how our private client tax services can help you.