Everyone Still Needs Estate Planning
Will the estate tax go away completely? That’s part of the discussion on tax reform currently on the table in Congress, but whether the repeal of estate taxes makes it to any final bill remains to be seen. If estate taxes are eliminated, does that mean that estate planning is no longer needed? Hardly.
For 2017, estate taxes apply only to estates in excess of $5.49 million (scheduled to increase to $5.6 million in 2018). In 2016, only 12,411 federal estate tax returns were filed. Of these, only 5,219 were taxable, after taking marital and charitable deductions.
But estate planning involves much more than estate taxes. Everyone needs to plan for a thoughtful distribution of their assets at death, reduction of estate expenses such as probate, possible state estate and inheritance taxes and income taxes on retirement accounts. Many people also feel it is important to leave a legacy for future generations through gifts to charity.
Everyone should review their wills, trusts and other estate planning arrangements regularly. In the process, we hope you will consider making or augmenting a thoughtful charitable bequest. Special opportunities exist for tax-wise legacies from IRAs and other retirement plans, life insurance and financial accounts. Keep in mind that you can make a bequest or gift that also provides lifetime payments to a spouse or other person.
The information in the website is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to income tax apply to federal taxes only. Federal estate tax, state income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.