Our Estate Tax and Gift Tax Planning Attorneys Facilitate Property Transfers
Helping you reduce tax liability as part of an estate plan
An estate tax applies to the transfer of your property upon death. By contrast, gift taxes apply in certain situations when you give someone money or property during your life. Exemptions allow you to transfer property in your estate or as a gift up to certain limits without tax liability. Federal estate and gift taxes are a primary concern in structuring an estate plan under which you pass property to others. The state of Delaware may not have an estate or gift tax, but it has levied estate and gift taxes in the past. As such, it is always important to check with a local attorney as to whether there are estate or gift taxes that apply at the state level in addition to federal estate and gift taxes. Estate & Elder Law Services provides estate and gift tax planning for clients, factoring the impact of such taxes into broader planning efforts for property transfers and bequests made during life and upon death in wills and other testamentary documents.
How to deal with estate taxes in the preparation of your will
When you leave property to others in your will, estate tax may apply if an exemption is not available. For individuals who pass away in 2014, the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is $5,340,000. A married couple can take advantage of twice that amount in 2014 under the portability provisions of current law. Top estate tax rates are in the 40 percent range for property in excess of the available exemption. The exemption limit changes yearly, and you should always check with an attorney. Because of the amount of the lifetime exemption currently in effect, only estates of significant size are subject to estate taxes.
If your estate is large enough to be concerned about estate tax, there are certain types of bypass trusts, marital trusts and other estate planning vehicles that may be worth considering. However, not every type of trust will help you avoid estate tax, even if it effectively avoids probate. Because of the complexity of legal issues related to estate and gift taxation, it is highly advisable to use an estate planning lawyer to assist you in dealing with these issues as part of preparing wills and handling other probate matters.
Estate & Elder Law Services is based in Wilmington and helps clients address gift tax and estate tax issues as part of broader estate planning efforts. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and walk-ins are welcome. Contact us online or call our office at 302.651.0113.