Estate Planning Tips for National Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 19th through the 25th is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. While it’s good to be aware of the importance of estate planning, it’s even better to take action and start planning for your future. In the spirit of National Estate Planning Awareness Week, Cohen & Burnett would like to share some tips for estate planning.

Tax law can be complicated, especially regarding estates. The government collects huge sums from individuals’ estates—a shocking $12.7 billion last year. Many individuals probably could have saved themselves significant money in taxes if they’d worked with a financial planner.

Below are some tips from Accounting Today.

1. Take Advantage of the Unlimited Marriage Deduction

You can bequeath any amount of your assets to your spouse, so long as they are a U.S. citizen. They can be subject to no federal estate tax. Remember, your spouse can do the same for you.

2. Use the Portability Estate Tax Exemption

You may direct the executor of your estate to leave unused federal estate tax exemptions to your surviving husband or wife.

3. Donate to IRS-Approved Charities to Reach Estate-Tax Free Ceiling

If you’d like to get your taxable estate down to the current $5.43 million estate-tax-free ceiling, a great way to do so is to donate to IRS-approved charities. Together, married couples can enjoy two exemptions, totaling nearly $11 million. The more charitable donations you make, however, the less you’ll be leaving behind for your beneficiaries.

4. Make Annual Gifts to Loved Ones and Relatives

The annual federal gift tax exclusion for 2015 is $14,000. Making annual gifts up to the exclusion amount can reduce the amount of your estate that can be taxed.

5. Pay School Expenses or Medical Costs for Relatives

Individuals may give away an unlimited amount for school or medical expenses without reducing the federal estate tax exemption. The payments must be made directly to a school or medical facility, not to an individual.

Working with Cohen & Burnett for Your Financial Future

At Cohen & Burnett we work closely with our clients to provide complete estate and retirement planning. If you’re interested in reducing taxes and increasing returns, don’t hesitate to visit our homepage. For more information on wealth management and estate planning, please see our previously posted blogs.

 

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