“Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Whether we are dealing with income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, gift taxes or estate taxes all of us have to deal with taxes in some form or another. After all, April 15th would not mean anything were it not for taxes. Like it or not, taxes also play a large factor in developing an effective estate plan. Thanks to the dreaded “estate tax,” if you fail to properly plan, Uncle Sam will take his final cut on your way out the door, and your largest tax bill ever will come when you are long gone.
The federal estate tax is a totally separate tax from the income tax system. The tax is assessed at the federal level based on the value of the deceased taxpayer’s estate. As of right now (2021), each person has a lifetime estate tax exemption of $11.7 million or $23.4 million for a married couple. Therefore, unless the decedent has a taxable estate exceeding the $11.7 million threshold, there is no estate tax liability. The amount by which the taxable estate exceeds $11.7 million is subject to a 40% tax rate.
While death and taxes are a certainty, death taxes are anything but certain in today’s political environment. There is much talk in Washington right now about the exemption being drastically lowered. That makes right now an ideal time to be proactive and plan while the laws are still favorable. If you wait too long, the opportunity might be lost before the year is over.
Phelps LaClair is experienced in implementing advanced gifting and trust strategies designed to reduce or eliminate death taxes, but you must start the planning process early in order to implement many of these plans. Some of these strategies include the use of:
• Revocable Living Trusts with “A-B” estate tax planning provisions
• Lifetime gifting strategies
• Irrevocable Trusts
• Family Limited Partnerships
• Charitable Trusts
If you have questions or would like to meet for a consultation on how to minimize your estate tax exposure, please call us at 480-892-2488 or email us at admin@PLEstatePlanning.com for more information.