High Net Worth Estates

Posted By Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.

7 Mar. 2016

For 2016, an estate is not be subject to federal estate tax unless it is worth over $5.45 million. If your estate is worth more than that, you have a problem – a problem many of us wish we had. However, there are several options that can reduce the tax hit on a taxable estate.

DO-IT-YOURSELFERS BEWARE

The Internet has made information accessible to everyone, and there are several sites with downloadable legal forms for those do-it-yourselfers who want to avoid legal fees. Many believe that if they simply download a living trust form and fill it in, they will avoid probate. Without probate, there is no “estate,” and without an estate, there is nothing that can be subject to an estate tax. If only it were that simple. The Internal Revenue Code has an entire statute on calculating the value of an “estate.” Simply put, items in a living trust are part of the taxable estate. However, there are certain trusts that will allow items to be excluded from the taxable estate. But these documents must be done correctly to comply with the tax code. With current estate tax rates ranging from 18% to 35%, the cost of having our experienced estate planning attorneys draft these documents for you is a bargain.

NOT JUST ABOUT DOCUMENTS

While properly drafted documents are essential in reducing estate taxes, there are other strategies that you can do while you are still alive that can reduce your estate. For instance. Many people know that giving away money or assets will reduce their estates, and they also know that the tax code limits the amount that can be given away each year (currently $14,000). But did you know that certain gifts are not subject to these limits? We do more than just crank out documents. Our experienced estate planning attorneys will discuss all of these options with you.

Categories: Estates
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