The Need for Advanced Estate Tax Planning
Often, a client (or more likely, a prospective client) will say something like:
“Oh, I don’t need estate planning, I already have a living trust.”
Our response is always the same:
“While a living trust is the foundation of your estate plan, it is far from the end of the Estate Planning process. In fact, it is more accurately described as the beginning of the Estate Planning process.”
In this section, we will address primarily the planning issues that surround the Federal Estate Tax, as well as some advanced estate planning strategies that can help bring your estate under the applicable estate tax threshold.
The Current Estate Tax Law – as of January 1, 2013
The new “Fiscal Cliff” legislation enacted by Congress has provided some stability and relative certainty with regards to the Estate Tax.
The law raised the Federal Estate Tax rate from 35% to 40% on Estates worth more than $5.12 million per Individual; or $10.24 million per couple.
Advanced Estate Planning Strategies
Assuming that the Estate Tax is in effect in the year of your passing, what are some planning methods that you can implement today that will reduce the likelihood that your estate will be subject to the Estate Tax?
It is important to understand that each of the strategies discussed below has advantages and disadvantages. Their impact on a client’s estate may vary widely, due to the individual and unique nature of each estate. Accordingly, it is impossible to specify in advance which is the correct technique for you.
We invite you to meet with one of our attorneys to discuss your Estate Planning needs in greater detail.