(Co-authored by 4Thought Financial Group CIO Jesse Mackey)
Most individuals that either now have or expect to have substantial wealth in the future prefer to plan in advance of their own death to minimize estate taxes to the extent possible.
While the federal estate tax exclusion in 2019 is relatively high compared to history ($11.4 million for an individual), the amount above that left to beneficiaries on death may be taxed at a maximum rate of 40%. This could be a huge tax bill in some cases if the proper planning is not done beforehand. In addition, some states have their own lower estate tax exclusion (in New York for example, it’s $5.74 million), so more people need to consider doing such planning than one might think.
So how exactly can one reduce estate taxes?
While there are several potential answers to this question (and the appropriate ones depend on the specifics of the situation), one possible solution is the Irrevocable Living Trust.