What is the role of limited partnerships in estate planning?

One role is that it offers important estate tax benefits. FLP interests are subject to a discounted valuation by the IRS. An FLP that owns an asset is considered to have less value than the sum of its underlying assets. First, the IRS applies a lack of marketability discount, since your FLP interest is not readily marketable; its value is reduced for tax purposes. There’s little market for FLP interests when the other partners are family members. If you own less than 50 percent of the FLP, the IRS then also applies the minority ownership discount to your FLP interest because there’s little market for FLP interests which others control. The result is that the IRS may value your FLP interest 15 to 40 percent below your percentage fair market value share. This can translate into a significant estate tax savings if you have a larger estate. That’s one reason we use FLPs to own LLCs, corporations and other assets. The FLP can layer your creditor protection and also decrease your estate taxes.