Many people underestimate the value of their estates for estate tax purposes and fail to make the proper plans to minimize the taxes that can reduce the inheritance that finally goes to their beneficiaries. Let Robert Weinstein, Attorney at Law in Newton, MA guide you through your estate tax planning.
The unlimited marital deduction makes most transfers between spouses, either by gift or bequest, tax-free. Thus, you may leave your entire estate to your surviving spouse and no estate tax will be due upon your death. However, upon the death of the surviving spouse, estate taxes may be owed if your joint assets exceed the exemption equivalent established in the federal tax code that is applicable in the year of death. This results from a "unified credit" that derives its name from the fact that transfers of property to family members or others will be taxed in the same way, regardless of whether the transfer occurs during life or at death, because of a general unification of the estate and gift tax laws. There may also be certain death taxes payable under state laws that must be considered. Essentially, the marital deduction only defers taxes that still must eventually be paid. Nevertheless, the marital deduction is important as deferring the estate tax liability gives the surviving spouse and family more money for support and investment during the life of the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse may be able to further reduce the impact of the estate tax by making lifetime gifts to family members or through the establishment of a trust and through other estate planning. In addition, it may now be possible for a surviving spouse to use some or all of the unified credit of the first deceased spouse if proper election is made during the administration of that first deceased spouse's taxable estate.
There are significantly different issues, problems, and opportunities in estate tax planning for married persons and for single individuals. The methods for transferring assets to enjoy the benefits of the unlimited marital deduction and unified credit are many and complex. Our attorney can provide a more in-depth explanation of the many complicated rules governing federal and state estate taxes.
Newton, Massachusetts Estate Planning Attorney Robert Weinstein at the Law Office of Robert Weinstein assists clients with Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration, MassHealth, Long-Term Care, Elder Law, Conservatorships, and Special Needs Planning in Newton, Massachusetts and throughout Middlesex, Norfolk and Essex Counties, including Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, Needham, Dedham, Westwood, Weston, Waltham, Watertown, Lexington, Arlington, Belmont, Concord, Woburn, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Salem and surrounding communities.