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Dealing Strategically With Federal Estate Taxes

Much has been made of the federal estate tax, sometimes referred to as the “death tax,” in recent years. Congress is constantly tweaking the laws regarding this tax with the most recent changes occurring in 2013. The good news is that most people will not be affected by these most recent changes, and those who are affected will likely experience only a minimal impact. As always, having a proper estate plan in place can help people accommodate for the potential impact of these and other taxes.

Since 1975, the Ridgewood federal estate tax attorneys at the law firm of The Manna Helmy Law Group have been helping people throughout New Jersey and New York with their estate planning needs. We can help you create an estate plan from scratch or review an existing plan to ensure that it addresses the impact of changes to the law.

Common Estate Tax and Exemptions

Like New Jersey, there is no federal estate tax if you leave your wealth to your spouse, provided she is a U.S. citizen. The federal estate tax will only come into play if an estate is valued in excess of $5.25 million for a single person, or more than $10.5 million for a married couple and the estate is left to someone other than a spouse (i.e. your children).

In order for the surviving spouse to take advantage of this $10.5 million exemption, a timely estate tax return must be filed on the first spouse’s death EVEN IF NOT REQUIRED, and the “portability” option selected. This is extremely important to do, since the federal estate tax over the exempt amount is 40%. Failure to take advantage of this valuable exclusion could cost your heirs hundreds of thousands of unnecessary federal estate tax dollars.

It is important to note that the federal estate tax is completely separate from New Jersey inheritance and estate taxes, as well as taxes imposed by other states. That is why it is important to have our attorneys help with comprehensive estate planning. Our estate tax lawyers can help your heirs avoid costly and unexpected surprises further down the road.

Minimize Your Tax Liabilities

To find out how federal and state laws may impact the taxes collected on your estate, speak with us. Contact our Ridgewood federal estate tax lawyers online or call 201-345-3018 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey and New York.