How could I lower my tax liability for my estate plan? 20 Answers as of May 14, 2015

I have been researching estate plans as I plan on instituting my own soon. I have not yet contacted an attorney although I do plan on it. I wanted to seek all related advice from reputable sources before doing so. Generally speaking, is there an easy way that I can have my estate plan lower the federal transfer tax liability?

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O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
Its sounds like you should consult an estates and trusts attorney with a background/experience in taxation, because recommendations for "lowering tax liability in estate planning" will depend on your situation and goals - what assets you have, their values and titling, and what you want to do with them. I believe less than 1% of the population faces federal estate tax consequences, so it is likely you may not have any federal estate tax consequences (and thus no need to plan for such consequences).
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 5/14/2015
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
Yes, there are several ways your estate plan can lower, reduce and even eliminate transfer tax on your estate. You should start by contacting an attorney who specializes in estate tax
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/13/2015
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
The current federal estate tax exemption amount for a US citizen is $5.4 million. If your estate is not more than this, you do not have a federal estate problem. The Oregon estate tax exemption amount is $1 million. If you have more than this, you may have an Oregon estate tax problem.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/13/2015
Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
Estate tax planning is complicated. There are many strategies. Their availability and effectiveness depend on the types of assets you have. E-mail advice is not practical. Keep in mind, it's not an issue unless the value of your estate exceeds $5,000,000.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/12/2015
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Federal estate taxes only kick in if your estate is very, very large. If you're sitting on that much in assets, you should be working with an attorney and an accountant already to shield your income from income taxes, capitol gains taxes, etc. However, a quick and easy way to avoid/reduce estate taxes (federal or state) is to leave as much of your estate as possible to the non-profit organization(s) of your choice.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 5/12/2015
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    The obvious first step is if your married, to use the lifetime exemption of both spouses. So at the first spouse's death his estate doesn't go to the widow but into a trust for the children. Then at the second spouse's death her exemption is used. Next is a life insurance trust, use your annual gift exceptions to purchase life insurance which is outside your estate. Third, is to transfer appreciating assets during your lifetime, so the appreciation is out of your estate.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/12/2015
    Law Offices of Robert Beatson II | Robert Beatson II
    Dear Sir/Madam, The facts need to be carefully reviewed and analyzed. An experienced trusts and estates and tax attorney should be able to handle this. I have 30+ years of experience and further information about my tax/law practice
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 5/12/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Yes, generally with estate planning it is possible to minimize if not eliminate federal estate tax with proper planning. You are welcome to call and engage Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC to potentially represent you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2015
    Law Office of T. Phillip Boggess | T. Phillip Boggess
    There are quite a few planning strategies that can be implemented for people to address income and estate taxes. However, I would strongly suggest consulting with an estate planning attorney because taking the wrong steps could make things worse.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/12/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    There are a great number of planning devices that can be used to reduce your tax liability. The key question, however, is what is the value of your estate? And, are you married? Depending on your answers, the questions will get more in depth.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Your question is too vague. Do you mean the capital gains tax on the sale or transfer of title of real property?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2015
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Unless you have in excess of $5million plus value of assets, a trust won't reduce any tax liability, as the federal exemption from $5million plus property would apply, not subjecting your assets to any federal estate transfer tax.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    The present federal estate tax threshold is about $5.4 million.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    The easiest way is to get married, but that is not the best solution for most. In all seriousness there is no easy solution. You should set up a consultation with an estate planning attorney to address what you are trying to accomplish, the types of assets you own and whether lifetime gifts or other planning options make sense for you. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    If you have a taxable estate large enough to warrant concern over estate tax, you don?t want to get advise from the net! There is a very high threshold.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    You will not be exposed to tax liability under the federal estate tax unless the value of your assets exceed $5M. The state inheritance tax has a lower threshold. An estate plan should always be tailored to the particular circumstances of the individual. If the value of your assets exposes you to estate and gift liability your plan should be designed with the nature of your assets, your family situation and charitable preferences in mind. A general plan is not appropriate. You should meet with an attorney to discuss your options and opportunities.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Yes - go ahead and meet with that attorney. Without knowing what your estate consists of and having a discussion with you, it would be foolish for an attorney to advise you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Robert E. Giffin | Robert E. Giffin CPA
    Yes, but you need to follow the rules and give up control of your property.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Federal estate and gift tax now has a lifetime exemption of $5.43 million dollars. There are many strategies to reduce any amount that might be owed, but all of them involve discussions with a lawyer knowledgeable in such matters, who is privy to your particular family situation and your particular assets. Some of the same strategies also work for the Oregon estate tax. This is not a question that can be answered on a website; it is too fact-specific and too complex.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/11/2015
    Law Offices of Robert H. Glorch | Jeffrey R. Gottlieb
    Probably the "easiest" way is to leave your estate to a 501(c)(3) qualified charitable organization. Dollar-for-dollar charitable deduction. Lifetime gifting programs also help. Beyond that, there are just so many different variables and factors that you really have to provide an expert with all of your relevant information and your goals and work together to formulate a plan.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/11/2015
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