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Why the Potential Demise of the Federal Estate Tax Does Not Diminish the Need for an Estate Plan

Weber Law Sept. 10, 2017

When the Federal government considers making changes to rules that have been around for a long time, it’s only natural for people to wonder how the changes in the rules would affect them if the contemplated changes got made. With the abolition of the Federal estate tax currently on the table as part of a proposed tax reform plan, Americans are wondering what will happen if the Federal Estate Tax goes away. While you might not like our answer, it is vital that you realize that the possible death of the Federal estate tax does not change the estate planning needs of most Americans.

Estate plans ensure that your wealth and property get into the hands of the people who you want to have them when you are no longer here on earth to enjoy them. While some of the things that you can accomplish with estate planning involve saving money for those who inherit through your estate, it is important to remember that estate planning is about so much more than who will get taxed and in what amount. Well-planned estates can protect treasured items, provide for loved ones, support causes that are dear to you, and more. If the Federal Estate Tax gets removed, that’s great, but none of the aforementioned things are guaranteed to happen unless you make a detailed and specific plan to ensure that they will.

Even if the Federal estate tax goes away, some states have taxes that apply to estates and gifts. Those laws won’t go away unless the states that have them also decide to get rid of their estate and gift tax requirements individually. Perhaps even more importantly, in the states where there are estate and gift taxes, the exemption amounts are smaller, so far fewer people fall outside of the requirement to pay it.

Estate planning attorneys help people plan for how all kinds of taxes will get paid, and if the Federal Estate tax goes away, that just removes one type of tax from the tax planning portion of the estate planning process. The rest of the tax planning that goes on for an estate still needs to happen, so that the disposition of your assets and property upon your death can be as expedient and efficient as possible.

The possible changes to the Federal estate tax don’t change a whole lot for most people. Estate planning is just as necessary as it ever was and perhaps even more so. Do not let the proposed changes to the Federal estate tax rules prevent you from creating an estate plan that will enable you to relax and know with certainty that the people and things that you care about will be taken care of when you die. If you have estate planning questions, call the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. for an initial consultation, or connect with us online. Our office in Wichita is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We may even be able to offer some weekend and evening hours by appointment if need be.