Services - Estate Planning

Minimizing taxes is just one benefit of estate planning. You also need to provide the cash necessary to pay estate taxes and administrative costs without depleting your estate. There are a number of ways in which you can pay for estate expenses. With proper planning, you can determine which method is the best for your financial situation with the objective of easing the burden of your heirs.

There is a perception today that estate planning means planning only for the distribution of property at your death. In reality, the purpose of estate planning should be for you to enhance your estate during your accumulation years, to maintain your financial security during your retirement years, and to provide for the most efficient transfer of property at your death.

Passing your wealth on to your heirs through your estate requires more than just a will, especially if your goal is to protect your assets from estate taxes.

Please contact us for further information and to learn how your heirs can benefit from an irrevocable life insurance trust and from charitable gifting strategies.

Neither Heritage Financial North nor our agents give legal or tax advice. You should always seek the opinion of your own legal or tax advisor prior to any transaction.

Estate and Gift Tax Rates

The annual exclusion for gifts is raised to $12,000 beginning in 2006.

The applicable exclusion amount is increased to $2,000,000 for estates and remains at $1,000,000 for gifts.

The following table shows how the estate-tax rate will decrease over the next several years and how it reverts to pre-tax law levels in 2011 with the expiration of the new tax law:

YEAR ESTATE TAX EXEMPTION MAXIMUM ESTATE TAX RATE
2003 $1 million 49%
2004 $1.5 million 48%
2005 $1.5 million 47%
2006 $2 million 46%
2007 $2 million 45%
2008 $2 million 45%
2009 $3.5 million 45%
2010 Repeal of estate tax 35%
2011 $1 million 55%

The above information is educational and should not be interpreted as legal advice. For advice that is specific to your circumstances, you should consult a legal adviser.

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