Legal Steps for Minimizing Estate Tax Exposure

Many people are surprised by how much tax their estate could owe both the state and federal governments. At the law firm of Berman & Asbel, LLP, our lawyers help families manage future estate tax exposure through careful asset management, protection of marital exemptions and strategically selected trust instruments that address their practical needs.

Learn how to shield estate funds from Uncle Sam and learn how to preserve the assets you have worked hard your whole life to accumulate. Schedule your an initial consultation with our Pennsylvania tax planning lawyers today by calling 484-842-0276, or contact our firm online.

Living Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts in Tax Planning

Transferring assets into a living trust will keep certain assets outside of Pennsylvania's probate process, but it will not provide an effective shield against estate taxes. The IRS effectively ignores living trusts because they hold revocable assets. Only irrevocable trusts that place assets out of the settler's reach can effectively shelter your estate from tax exposure.

Here are some options to consider:

  • In 2012, Congress reformed the estate tax so that the first $5 million of a person's estate is exempt from estate tax. Married couples can easily combine their exemptions by choosing spousal exemption portability on an estate tax return after the death of the first spouse to effectively double the exemption. The exemption amounts are also indexed for inflation so that they increase every year. These exemptions enable most persons to avoid the federal estate tax.

  • For estates that are larger than the federal exemption amount, other approaches to managing estate tax exposure are available. They involve the use of irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, or, especially for families who anticipate that their property will increase in value, a qualified personal residential trust. In any event, our advice about your estate planning options is always tailored to the specific circumstances and objectives of our clients.

Even People of Modest Means Can Benefit From Estate Tax Planning

Life insurance proceeds or appreciation of property values can trigger estate tax liabilities even for families who would never consider themselves wealthy. For many middle-class families, the Pennsylvania inheritance tax can take a large bite out of an estate to make tax planning worth their while.

Contact Us Now for an Initial Consultation About Estate Tax Planning

Our attorneys are here to evaluate your potential tax liabilities and develop a personalized plan for protecting as much of your estate as possible. Please schedule an initial consultation by calling our Greater Philadelphia law office today at 484-842-0276 or by contacting us online.