New Estate Tax Laws Heading Our Way in 2013

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10th Dec 2012

There are changes to the estate tax code coming in 2013, therefore right now is the best time to take advantage of some of the most advantageous estate tax benefits that exist now which may never exist again. 
 This blog post assumes that you have already created a valid estate plan with an attorney, which allows you to decide how your assets should be handled when you die or become incapacitated. If you have done so, I am willing to be that you have probably spent a good amount of time and energy accumulating your wealth, which is why you were concerned with creating a carefully conceived plan in the first place.
 In the current law, Federal taxes can be as high as 35% on estates that have a value of more than $5.12 million. Your family must be made aware of these things so they can plan for the future and not have any negative surprises. There are opportunities available to minimize the tax liability as well.  As you discuss your estate plan, consider these important questions:
§  Would you like to control of all your assets during your lifetime?
§  Are you willing to do complex work to save money on taxes?
§  Are you willing to be aggressive with your tax saving strategies?
 There are several ways to employ “gifting” and Trusts in the service of tax savings when planning ahead in your estate plan.  These strategies can get complex and should be considered in consultation an attorney and/or financial planner. 
 If on the other hand you haven’t taken the time for this type of planning, you are not alone out there.  There are many people who avoid what they see as an unpleasant or unnecessary task. A properly created plan however can ensure that your property is distributed according to what you want, and that any taxes, fees, and work involved in settling your estate are minimized.
 Answering a few important questions can help you appreciate the importance of an estate plan and the ways in which it can help protect your assets and ensure your legacy.
As laws and your personal situation continue to change, your plan needs to evolve along with it.  Estate planning is a dynamic process that can affect your financial, tax, medical, and business planning. It also has an effect on those people who are closest and dearest to you. Before making an appointment with an estate planning lawyer, think about how to best frame your questions: 
§  How will this help manage or protect your wealth?
§  How are my heirs affected? What do they need to know?
§  Do you expect a change in the amount of your assets, such as an upcoming inheritance?
§  Gifting?
§  Do you have a family business?
§  Do you have family members with special needs?
§  Do you have children from a previous marriage whom you want to include in the distribution of your estate?
If you enjoyed this post, please leave us a comment. To schedule an appointment with Dwight Tompkins please contact him here.

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