Estate planning definitely involves helping certain people gain estate tax efficiency. The federal estate tax carries a $5.25 million exclusion in 2013, and the top rate is forty percent. A forty percent death tax can certainly erode your assets considerably as they are being passed on to the next generation.
Here in the state of New York we also have a state-level estate tax to contend with, and this exclusion is much lower at just $1 million.
The above having been stated, estate taxes are only part of the equation. There are those who don’t seek out professional assistance because they are not exposed to the estate tax on either the federal or the state level.
In fact, you have every reason to discuss your unique situation with an estate planning attorney even if you are not exposed to these death taxes.
You want to consider the propensities of your heirs when you are planning your estate. There are ways to set aside assets for individuals who may not be the best money managers.
If you own a small business you have a different set of concerns to address, and a specialized brand of estate planning is necessary.
Incapacity planning is also important. If you do not empower potential future decision-makers of your own choosing to act in your behalf if it becomes necessary the state could wind up deciding who handles your money and who decides what types of medical treatments you will receive.
Estate planning is something that is very important for people who have tax exposure. However, it is also important for other responsible adults who to want to be certain that they have done everything possible to ensure the future well-being of their families.