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Four Important Estate Tax Rules for 2015

  • 27 January 2015
  • Author: Cari Holbrook
  • Number of views: 2747
Four Important Estate Tax Rules for 2015

What’s the single best way to reduce estate tax in 2015? Don’t die. Aside from that, the following points are a few things you should know about leaving your hard-earned assets to loved ones this year. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your estate plan (or you have yet to create one), pay attention to some big changes that have occurred in recent years.

  • Since 2011, it’s been very hard to pinpoint exactly what the estate tax exclusion will be from year to year. That year, the federal estate tax exclusion was set at $5 million with an inflation rule. So, every year since, that number is adjusted for inflation. In 2015, the estate tax exemption is set at $5.43 million.
  • The annual gift tax exclusion has remained at $14,000 for 2015. That means you can gift another individual up to $14,000 tax free (additionally, some spousal and charitable gifts have no restrictions).
  • If you’re married and your assets exceed the exemption limit, you’ll want to become familiar with this word: portability. As of 2011, portability within estate tax laws means a deceased spouse’s unused exemption is available to the surviving spouse. This could possibly double the total estate tax exemption for the surviving spouse without the use of complicated trusts.
  • Are you part of an untraditional or same-sex marriage? Be sure to cover your bases. The IRS treats the terms “spouse,” “husband,” and “wife” to include individuals of the same sex who were lawfully married in a state that has authorized the marriage of two individuals of the same sex. You do not need to reside in the state in which you were lawfully married, which is great news for Texas residents. However, couples who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar formal relationship (whether same-sex or not) likely don’t qualify for these exemptions.

Update your estate plan if any of these points seem to relate to your situation. After all, the only thing as certain as taxes is something you won’t be able to predict. For more information, contact us.

Image Copyright: konstantynov / 123RF Stock Photo

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