Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life.
Estate planning typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. A variety of things come in to play with regards to estate planning, such as:
At Haas & Zaltz, LLP, we can help you navigate through the estate planning process and make sure that you have a comprehensive plan in place to protect your assets. We can also handle everything that is necessary regarding to Probate and Estate Administration.
Complex Estate Planning
For people with large estates, typical estate planning devices found in Wills or revocable trusts may not be sufficient to relieve one’s heirs of oppressive federal estate tax rates.
As of 2014, the first $5.34 million per person ($10.68 million for a couple) of a person’s estate are exempt from federal estate tax. However, state estate tax does apply to much smaller estates. New York State recently raised the exemption for New York State Estate Taxation from the current $1 million per person, to just over $2 million person in 2014. Further, the New York estate tax exemption is scheduled to be raised incrementally over the next five years, and by 2019 the New York exemption will be equivalent to the federal exemption.
In addition to estate tax, large gifts may be subject to gift tax, thereby reducing the viability of making large gifts as an estate tax reduction strategy.
The good news is that there are still many other devices which we use to allow our clients to reduce their taxable estates without having to pay gift tax, including:
- Life insurance trusts and other irrevocable trusts
- Family limited partnerships and/or LLCs, which allow clients to gift assets to their heirs in the form of partnership or company interest while keeping the assets being gifted in one unit for purposes of efficiency in investing and management.
- Intentionally defective grantor trusts or Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), which allow appreciating assets to be held in a manner that removes the appreciation from one’s taxable estate.
- Charitable trusts, which allow clients to take advantage of the charitable deduction, while maintaining flexibility in directing charitable distributions and/or retaining an income or remainder interest for the client and/or his or her heirs.
These are just a few of the things that we can do to help you protect your assets. Give us a call today and let’s see what we can do to help.