Buying a House

Estate Tax Planning


Expect the Unexpected

You work your entire life to save, and make good financial decisions so that you can have enough when you retire, and then, hopefully, leave something to your loved ones after you die.  Along life’s way you pay taxes… income taxes, property taxes, sales tax.  At the end of the day, the government wants to tax you one last time, after you die on whatever you have left.  This is called the federal estate tax (also known as the inheritance tax or the death tax).

What You Need to Know:

  • The estate tax is separate from the income tax, and is paid on the net value of all your assets, including life insurance, owned at your death in excess of the exempt amount;

  • The estate tax rate is currently 40% (and has been as high as 55% in recent years);

  • For most families, estate taxes are totally voluntary.  Only people who fail to plan will end up paying estate taxes.

Advanced Estate Planning Strategies

Smiling Senior Couple

The biggest enemy in tax planning?  It’s not the IRS, it’s procrastination! For the best results, start your tax planning sooner rather than later. The earlier the planning starts, the more tax savings can be realized and the easier it is to do so.


Advanced estate tax planning focuses primarily on reducing taxes, specifically the three taxes most commonly imposed on the transfer of assets: the gift tax, the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer tax.


Advanced estate planning typically includes strategies such as:


  • Life insurance trusts

  • Qualified personal residence trusts

  • Grantor retained annuity trusts

  • Asset protection trusts

  • Land trusts

  • Dynasty Trusts (Protection against the generation-skipping transfer tax)

  • Family limited partnerships or limited liability companies

  • Asset gifting

  • Reduction of estate taxes