Estate and Gift Planning Services

A little planning can save thousands of dollars!

You can’t take it with you, but failing to plan for your estate can mean that the government, rather than your heirs, may get the major portion of your hard-earned money.

Estate tax rates
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) repealed the federal estate tax for decedents dying in calendar year 2010. After 2010, pre-EGTRRA estate tax provisions were scheduled to return. The 2010 Tax Relief Act revives the estate tax.

Under the new law, the federal estate tax will again apply to the estates of decedents dying after December 31, 2009, and before January 1, 2013. The new law sets a maximum estate tax rate of 35 percent with a $5 million exclusion ($10 million for married couples). Additionally, executors of estates of individuals who died in 2010 can elect out of the estate tax (and apply modified carryover basis rules) or can elect to have the estate tax apply.

The 2010 Tax Relief Act provides for portability between spouses of the $5 million estate tax exclusion after December 31, 2010. Portability allows a surviving spouse to elect to use any of the unused portion of the estate tax exclusion of the predeceased spouse, allowing married couples to effectively shield up to $10 million from estate tax.

Unfortunately, New York State only provides for a $1,000,000 estate tax exemption and no “portability” of unused estate tax exemption between spouses. This disparity will necessitate careful analysis of existing estate plans.

You may be surprised what your estate is worth. Add up the value of all your assets. Don’t forget life insurance which my fall into your estate. If your total value exceeds the exclusion, you should look into what a few simple planning techniques can save your family at estate time. In addition, there are some very effective estate planning ideas that can also cut your current income tax bill.

Some planning possibilities:

How much do you need for retirement?

What property, if any, should one consider parting with during his or her lifetime?

Estate and gift planning is a very personal process. Each family plan is unique.

Effective planning should involve you, your accountant, your attorney, and in many cases, an insurance agent and trust officer.

Please email us for an initial conference at no charge. We will help you assess your need for estate and gift planning. If your financial affairs are simple, the meeting will be short. If you have more complicated matters, the meeting will be longer, but the time will be well spent.