VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How an estate tax repeal might change an estate plan

Some Florida residents might wonder how they should change their estate plan if the federal estate tax is repealed. People with large estates who anticipate having to pay some estate tax have most likely designed their plan with this in mind. Reviewing the documents and considering how removing the estate tax would change them means that a person can be ready to make those changes quickly and efficiently if the law changes.

With the estate tax exemption for 2017 at $5.49 million and twice that for married couples, the aim is usually to get the value of the estate below that exemption amount or as close to it as possible. To accomplish this, a person might fund a multi-generation trust with the maximum allowance for the generation-skipping tax exemption. Another strategy is to create a marital trust.

The fate of the estate tax is uncertain. However, these strategies may no longer be necessary if the estate tax is repealed, and there may be better choices for a person's estate if this particular tax is not a consideration.

Whether or not a person has a large enough estate to be concerned about estate tax, regularly reviewing an estate plan is a good practice. Most of the time, estate planning is not a project that can be done once and then forgotten. Families change through marriages, deaths, divorces and births, and people's assets change as well. A person's relationship to certain family members might also change. This means a person may have appointed someone as executor or to have the power to make health care decisions who should no longer be in that position. It is important to remember to review beneficiary designations as well since these override what is written in a will.

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