Do I Need Planning With Increased Federal Estate Tax Exemptions


Absolutely!  As of January 1, 2018, the federal estate tax exemption amount will rise to $5.6 million, up from $5.49 million in 2017.  The annual exclusion amount for gifts in 2018 will increase to $15,000, which is up from $14,000 for gifts in 2017. This means that individuals can gift $15,000, and couples can gift $30,000 to any person without incurring a gift tax or having to make any required filing.  Moreover, under The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the exemptions for 2018 should be approximately $11 million per person or $22 million per couple. Additionally, in Wisconsin, there is not a state “death tax”.  However, tax planning is but one small aspect of the overall estate plan.

It is still critical to plan for an orderly transfer of assets or for unforeseen circumstances.  The State’s intestacy laws, the distribution of assets without a will, is likely not be the distribution strategy you desire. It remains critical to consider proper beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and insurance contracts, wills, powers of attorney, health-care directives, and revocable trusts.

Higher exemptions do not mean the end of planning, it means that you have more freedoms in where your assets can go without the tax burden.  Please contact the Law Office of David Watson, LLC to help you plan today!

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