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Regularly reviewing existing estate plans is a good financial practice, and the looming change to the lifetime estate/gift tax exemptions at the end of 2025 makes now an opportune time to review your plans. Two powerful tools in estate planning are time and interest rates. With time, the more you have remaining, the greater the number of estate planning options available to you. With interest rates, the lower the prevailing rates, the more likely investments can achieve excess returns, thus the more attractive many strategies become. The ultra-low interest rates of the past decade were a boon for many estate planning strategies, but the increase in interest rates does not mean the end of effective estate planning opportunities. Indeed, there are a handful of strategies that become even more attractive in a higher interest rate environment. Rising interest rates influence the effectiveness of various estate planning tools. Leveraging these tools...

All Eyes on the Banks

All Eyes on the Banks

Following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, banking regulators appeared on Capitol Hill last week. Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Barr and FDIC Chair Gruenberg testified before the Senate Banking and House Financial Services Committees about the recent bank failures. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimates it will cost $22.5 billion to backstop both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, guaranteeing all deposits.   After the initial shock of these bank failures and the heightened sensitivity around bank holdings, the market rapidly adjusted to the new risks with the quickest monetary tightening in 44 years. Still, banks face several headwinds. First, the yield curve remains inverted—longer-term interest rates are lower than short-term rates. For example, the 10-year Treasury is yielding 3.38%, while the Fed Funds rate is 5%. This inversion is the largest in 42 years. It is generally viewed as a bearish signal for the economy,...