Are you: single, paired but not married, married with or without children — twenty-something, eighty, or anywhere in between?
If you answered, “Yes”, then estate planning IS for you. What kind of estate planning — how much and how complex — depends on your specific situation.Lynda H. McMaken provides clients of all ages and means with: Wills, Living Trusts, Trusts, Living Wills, Directive to Physician, Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney
The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death (Refer to Form 706 (PDF)). The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them. The total of all of these items is your “Gross Estate.” The includible property may consist of cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets.
Once you have accounted for the Gross Estate, certain deductions (and in special circumstances, reductions to value) are allowed in arriving at your “Taxable Estate.” These deductions may include mortgages and other debts, estate administration expenses, property that passes to surviving spouses and qualified charities. The value of some operating business interests or farms may be reduced for estates that qualify.
After the net amount is computed, the value of lifetime taxable gifts (beginning with gifts made in 1977) is added to this number and the tax is computed. The tax is then reduced by the available unified credit.
Most relatively simple estates (cash, publicly traded securities, small amounts of other easily valued assets, and no special deductions or elections, or jointly held property) do not require the filing of an estate tax return. A filing is required for estates with combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts exceeding $5,000,000 or more for decedent’s . You always want to file a return even if no tax is due.