VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Changes may be ahead for estate tax laws

Although the incoming presidential administration could lead to changes in estate tax and other factors that affect estate planning, people in Florida should not respond by postponing the creation of an estate plan. Instead, they can make a plan that is based on current law while taking into account that the law may change. This is the case even when there is not a potential change in estate tax ahead. There is always a chance that there will be changes in the law between the time an estate plan is made and a person's death.

While there might be changes in gift tax, it is somewhat unlikely because this affects how income tax is collected. More likely is a change in estate tax, but this will not affect most people. However, repealing the estate tax could lead to a change in capital gains tax, and this could have an effect on a wider population.

One effect might be that a capital gains tax could be levied even on unsold inherited property. If this occurs, it might mean people would struggle to keep assets if they lack the cash flow to pay that tax. On the other hand, families who would have been affected by estate tax might be able to change their estate planning strategy if the tax is repealed.

It is important for people to keep in mind that regardless of tax implications, an estate plan should not be a set of unchanging documents. Throughout people's lives, their assets and family situations are likely to change in ways that make it necessary to update the estate plan. Attorneys often recommend a periodic review of the documents.

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