Thinking about estate planning during tax season

One of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous utterances is that “…But in this world nothing can said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Unfortunately, dealing with tax issues during estate planning combines these two certainties in ways that few Americans relish.

Taxes are an undeniably complex reality. Estate planning is often an exceptionally complex process as well. As a result, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced attorney who is both well-versed in estate planning issues and in related tax matters when you begin to either determine or revise how your estate plan will look moving forward.

Estate plans are meant to be living documents. What this means practically is that estate plans are meant to be revised as often as major life events or circumstances warrant revisions. At times, reforms to American tax law may inspire individuals to revise their estate plans in order to ensure that their property is handed down in ways that are most beneficial for their heirs and beneficiaries.

For example, the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012 provided some consumer-friendly provisions that may benefit you, whether you have yet to create a tax plan or have not revised your estate plan since the law went into effect. The portability-related provisions of this act now generally allow widowers and widows to carry their spouse’s estate tax exemption over and add it to their own exemption.

If you have questions about how this reform and other tax reforms may impact your existing estate plan or a plan you have yet to create, please contact an experienced attorney.

Source: Forbes, “Estate Planning For The 99%,” Deborah L. Jacobs, Jan. 19, 2014

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