During consideration of the FAA transportation and safety bill on February 2, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) offered an amendment that included an offset that would place new restrictions on grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs). The amendment, which was rejected by a vote of 44-54, would have required a 10-year minimum term and a remainder interest greater than zero and prohibited decreasing annuities. All 47 Republicans and 7 Democrats opposed the amendment.
The House considered four bills in 2010 that included the GRAT provision as an offset. We succeeded in keeping the provision from moving forward in the Senate by persuasively arguing that limiting the use of legitimate planning techniques and raising the burden on families was particularly unfair given the continued uncertainty they face. We will remain vigilant to protect the ability of families to adequately plan and continue to press for sustainable estate tax relief.