Without a thorough and well thought out Estate Plan, a good portion of one’s estate can end up going to tax penalties instead of those whom you love and care about most. No one wants this to happen and there are steps to take in order minimize tax penalties and keep your hard earned money in the hands of those you intended. An experienced Estate Planning attorney can advise you on the best ways to do this.
Estates become taxable upon death of the individual and until all assets are distributed to their intended beneficiaries. Tax is calculated after all assets are tallied and charitable and marital deductions, estate administration expenses, and other allowable deductions are subtracted. The estate tax is tallied by the IRS based on this amount. If the net estate is less than the exclusion amount there is no estate tax. If the estate tax is more than the exclusion amount, the tax is a percentage of the net estate.
Current exclusion amounts:
2011 and thereafter
If the estate tax is more than the exclusion amount, the tax is a percentage of the net estate. The highest estate tax rate for 2007-2009 is 45%. This is a hefty amount of tax to be levied; so what are the options for reducing this tax?
There is no estate tax for property passed to a spouse when the first spouse dies. However, the surviving spouse would have to remarry and leave the entire estate to the new spouse and his or her family in order to get the marital exemption again. Most people would like to see their own children receive a portion of the estate so this option is not usually acceptable.
Estate Planning can help you leave your estate to your children and grandchildren with as little tax penalty as possible.
1.) A revocable living trust can be used to keep your property managed outside of your estate at the time of death and can be changed at any time.
2.) Gifting program – This option can be used to take advantage of the current $12,000 per person per year tax exclusion and avoid estate tax in the future.
3.) Charitable Gift Annuities can be an option to reduce tax on your estate as well. Speak with your attorney about whether this option is best for you.
Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. is an experienced estate planning law firm providing individually tailored plans to fit our clients’ needs. We are knowledgeable on the best tax saving options for our clients. After a careful review of the details and discussion of fees involved in the process, we begin to structure a solid estate plan based on our clients’ concerns and goals. Our Law Offices are located throughout the state and serves California in Elder Law and Estate Planning. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.