Many Reviewing Estate Planning, Post-Fiscal Cliff
White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) March 15, 2013 – Estate planning updates are needed in the wake of the fiscal cliff crisis.
Now that Congress has moved forward to avoid what has commonly been referred to as the “Fiscal Cliff,” the federal estate tax has been fixed at $5.25 million for 2013 per individual; the tax rate is 40 percent for the amounts that exceed that exemption. When an individual dies with less than $5.25 million (including real estate, other assets and financial holdings such as checking accounts, and life insurance), no federal estate tax will be due.
While estates which fall below $5.25 million have a federal exemption, estate tax for New York State remains at $1 million; an individual who dies as a New York resident leaving an estate above $1 million ($2 million for couples; $10 million at the federal level) may be taxed by the state for as much as 16 percent, due within a nine-month period after the death.
New York estate planning attorneys may suggest to their clients who have holdings above or near $1 million to work with an elder law or estate planning attorney to explore what estate planning methods will protect assets for beneficiaries and minimize estate taxes. The most common is trust planning; trusts can be modified to fit the needs of each family and each individual’s estate needs, including establishing gift giving.
But, say estate planning lawyers, fiscally astute estate planning encompasses far more than just drafting a will; estate planning may include everything from establishing a trust for dependents, to establishing long-term care insurance, to designating a health care proxy, to minimizing estate taxes and ensuring that assets are distributed according to last wishes.
For individuals with assets below the $1 million mark, estate planning can also be in their best interest to ensure plans are in place for the future, such as establishing a living will, designating the appropriate person with power of attorney in the event of incapacitation, and establishing or enhancing a retirement fund.
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Littman Krooks LLP offers legal services in several areas of law, including elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, special education advocacy, and corporate and securities. Their offices are located at 399 Knollwood Road, White Plains, New York; 655 Third Avenue, New York, New York; and 300 Westage Business Center Drive, Fishkill, New York. For more information about Littman Krooks LLP, visit the website at: www.littmankrooks.com.
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