In July 1941 the Chicago White Sox rolled into Fenway Park to face the rival Red Sox and their hitting phenom known as The Kid, Ted Williams, the 23-year-old who had batted .327 and .344 in his first two years in the Bigs. Foremost in the mind of Chicago manager Jimmy Dykes was how to contain the “Splendid Splinter” who was now flirting with a .400 average and tearing up opposition pitching.
Knowing the Lefty’s strong propensity to hit to right field, Dykes employed what would become known as the “Williams Shift” to better defend against blasts from the slugger’s custom-made bats. Shifting his third-baseman to the right, his shortstop to the opposite side of second base, and his second-baseman to short right-field, Dykes felt confident he had made best use of his eight fielders in his accommodation for the one member of the opposition’s 25-man roster.
It is often the case that a single variable among many others disproportionately determines a course of action.
And so it is with the lifetime exemption when doing gift and estate tax planning with wealthy clients. It is significant enough that it is the prime mover among many others in steps taken to reduce taxes.
The anticipated 50% reduction in the current $11.58 million dollar exemption amount in 2026, and the likelihood of an earlier reduction with a change in administration, has many taxpayers considering a Williams Shift of their own by utilizing all or much of the exemption immediately. For background on this see the related article at http://marketing.cpsinsurance.com/advanced-markets/estate-gift-tax-exemptions-will-the-barn-door-close/.
Ted Williams went on to finish the 1941 season with a .406 batting average, the last player to reach that plateau. But his team finished in second place 17 games behind the New York Yankees. So Joe Dimaggio was chosen MVP with a mere .357 batting average!
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