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Estate Tax Planning Lawyer
The Internal Revenue Service defines the Estate Tax as a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. Whether an Estate Tax should be applied, an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death is used. The fair market value of these items is used for this calculation, which is not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is known as a "Gross Estate." The property in the Gross Estate may contain cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets.
Once the Gross Estate is calculated, certain deductions and reductions are allowed in arriving at your “Taxable Estate”. These deductions may include mortgages and other debts, estate administration expenses, property that passes to surviving spouses and qualified charities. The value of some operating business interests or farms may be reduced as well.
What is Estate Tax Planning?
Estate tax exemption amounts vary from year to year. If you don’t know the thresholds, you can end up paying hefty taxes on your estate. Our tax attorneys offer thorough estate tax planning advice to explore tax-saving benefits of incorporating instruments such as:
- IRA Distribution
- Charitable Trusts
- Marital and Credit Shelter Trusts
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
- Family Limited Partnership and LLCs
- Foreign Trusts
Estate Tax Planning Strategies
Blake Harris Law can help you plan to minimize your Estate Tax liability. We work with you to explore estate tax planning strategies and formulate solid plans to help you achieve long-term tax-saving.
Some of the strategies we advise on include:
- Yearly gifts exemption and lifetime exemption using instruments like the GRAT or Grantor Retained Annuity Trust
- IRAs for tax-reduced charitable giving
- Wealth transfer during your lifetime to minimize gift taxes on your estate upon death
- Life insurance instruments outside of your estate, including irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trusts to protect your children and spouse after your death
Blake Harris Law’s experienced tax attorneys can help you review your current estate plan and asset holdings to ensure that the law changes won't impact you negatively. We can advise you on how new changes to the law affect your current estate plan and whether you need to review your current plan to avoid losing some of your estate.
Estate Tax Facts
- The estate tax is a financial duty imposed on an estate, based on the value of its assets at the time of death.
- Federal estate taxes are assessed on estates valued in excess of $11.4 million as of 2019.
- Assets transferred to spouses are exempt from estate tax regardless of the value of the estate.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017
Recent changes to the tax laws have doubled the exemption limits on federal estate taxes, which means that many estates will be exempt from paying any federal estate tax. On December 2017, President Trump and Republican Congressmen increased the federal estate tax exemption (indexed for inflation) to $22.36 million and $11.18 million for married couples and individuals, respectively. Only the amount that exceeds that threshold is subject to tax. For estates that still have to pay estate taxes, top federal statutory rate is 40%. In many instances, however, the effective estate tax rate can be significantly lower.
How Can Estate Tax Planning Help You
Blake Harris Law will help you address the fundamentals of estate planning, draft advanced estate documents, and appropriate account titling. With thorough and effective planning, you can secure your future and that of your loved ones.
Our estate planning and estate tax attorneys can work with you to plan your estate and ensure that all the pieces fit together to avoid unexpected liabilities and estate tax concerns. Blake Harris Law can identify and employ an array of strategies to minimize your estate tax burdens and transfer your assets efficiently to protect your family’s wealth for decades to come.
If you wish to learn more about how to plan your estate, reach out to our team at Blake Harris Law.