Berman & Asbel, LLP

Tax tips for estate planning

With the 'fiscal cliff' topic in the news and tax-filing season upon us, the issue of taxes is certainly on everyone's minds. The topic of taxes comes up in estate planning, as well, in regards to seeking the most beneficial exemption level. Estate tax liability issues ought not to be taken lightly.

For example, it is important when planning an estate to bear the fluctuations of estate tax in mind, not disregard it completely. A surviving spouse, then, can be protected from these fluctuations if the deceased spouse's assets are organized into a separate trust which is covered by their exemption. Additionally, a life insurance policy can ensure that any 'liquid assets' are eligible to offset estate tax issues.

On the topic of life insurance, most people essentially purchase or pay into one, and never give it much thought. However, life insurance policies have as important of an economic performance as other investments like stocks and bonds. 

It cannot be emphasized enough that planning an estate as far ahead of time as possible, and remaining vigilant about keeping it up to date in the face of relationship changes and any legal and tax changes. Remaining within proper tax code can ensure that all assets are properly taken care of and there are no legal issues for the beneficiaries to face.

Speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney can help to present various options for estate planning, including will execution and trusts, which can be formed to remain as stable as is possible in the face of changes taxes and laws.

Source: WRALtechwire, "Top 10 'non-tax' estate planning recommendations," Stuart B. Dorsett, Jan. 2, 2012

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