Should I Do Some Estate Tax Planning?

If you will have a taxable estate, one where the net value of your estate is likely to be greater than the exclusion currently allowed (See the separate FAQ regarding estate tax calculations) it may be wise to consult with a tax or legal professional for some suggestions on implementing an estate plan.

These can range from a simple restructuring of your assets, to a program of gifting assets to your beneficiaries during your lifetime, the adoption of trusts, and other alternatives.

Note that there are no "one size fits all" answers to estate planning questions. Planning should depend on the value and nature of the assets in the estate, the taxpayer's need for those assets during his lifetime, provisions for spouses, children and other heirs, state inheritance laws and probate requirements, as well as general preferences you may have as to how your estate should be handled. If the amount of your estate is such that federal (or state) taxes may be assessed, you should discuss estate planning issues with a knowledgeable local professional who deals with that as a significant part of his or her practice.

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