Overview of Oregon Estate Tax Laws

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Understanding How Oregon Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

If you live in Oregon, then you live in one of a handful of states that collects a state death tax. The estates of Oregon residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Oregon, are subject to a state death tax under the following guidelines.

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

Does Oregon collect an estate tax or an inheritance tax?

Prior to 2012, the Oregon death tax was referred to as an "inheritance tax" in the Oregon code, but effective January 1, 2012, the Oregon death tax became known as an "estate tax." This makes sense since Oregon's death tax is collected based on the value of the estate (hence, an "estate tax"), as opposed to being based on who inherits the estate (hence, an "inheritance tax").

In this article, the Oregon death tax collected on or before December 31, 2011 is referred to as an inheritance tax, the Oregon death tax collected on or after January 1, 2012 is referred to as an estate tax, and both taxes are referred to in general as the death tax.

When is an estate subject to the Oregon inheritance tax or estate tax?

For Oregon residents, an estate may be subject to the Oregon inheritance tax or estate tax if the total gross estate exceeds $1,000,000.

For nonresidents of Oregon, an estate may be subject to the Oregon inheritance tax or estate tax if it includes real estate and/or tangible personal property having a situs within the state of Oregon and the gross estate exceeds $1,000,000.

What Oregon inheritance tax or estate tax forms must be filed?

For deaths that occurred on or before December 31, 2011, estates with a gross value that exceeds $1,000,000 must file an Oregon inheritance tax return, Form IT-1, even if no Oregon inheritance tax will be due as a result of applicable deductions and exemptions.

For deaths that occurred on or after January 1, 2012, estates with a gross value that exceeds $1,000,000 must file an Oregon estate tax return, Form OR706, even if no Oregon estate tax will be due as a result of applicable deductions and exemptions.

Are Oregon Registered Domestic Partners treated the same as married couples?

In 2007 the Oregon legislature passed HB 2007. Under the provisions of this law, the instructions for the Form IT-1 were amended to provide that the term “surviving spouse” may be replaced with "surviving Oregon Registered Domestic Partner."

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, an Oregon death tax may be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death due to the gap of $4,120,000 between the Oregon exemption of $1,000,000 and the federal exemption of $5,120,000. Nonetheless, a married decedent's estate can make an election to treat a trust of which the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary as "special marital property" for purposes of calculating the Oregon death tax. Thus, married Oregon residents can defer payment of both Oregon and federal death taxes until after the death of the surviving spouse using ABC Trust planning.

When are the Oregon death tax return and tax payment due?

The Oregon death tax return must be filed and any death tax due must be paid within nine months after the decedent's date of death.

An extension of time to file the Oregon death tax return and pay any tax due will be accepted for Oregon if granted by the Internal Revenue Service. If the estate does not have to file a federal estate tax return, then mark "For Oregon Only" at the top of IRS Form 4768 and federal guidelines will be used to consider the request. If an extension of time to pay is granted, the tax must be secured by collateral acceptable to the Oregon Department of Revenue. In addition, an extension of time to file the return does not extend the time to pay the tax, and interest will accrue during the extension period.

Where is the Oregon death tax return filed?

Mail the Oregon inheritance tax return, Form IT-1, or the Oregon estate tax return, Form OR706, and all other required forms and documentation to:

Oregon Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 14110
Salem, OR 97309-0910

If you are using a private delivery service such as FedEx or UPS, then use the following address:

Oregon Department of Revenue
955 Center Street
NE Salem, OR 97301-2555

What are the Oregon inheritance tax or estate tax rates?

For deaths that occurred on or before December 31, 2011, once the value of the net estate exceeded $1,000,000, the entire value of the estate was taxed. Inheritance tax rates ranged from 0.8% to 16% of the adjusted taxable estate.

For deaths that occurred on or after January 1, 2012, the first $1,000,000 of an estate is exempt from the estate tax calculation. For a table showing the estate tax rates that went into effect on January 1, 2012, refer to Lawmakers Tweak Oregon Estate Tax.

Overview of New Jersey Estate Tax Laws

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Understanding How New Jersey Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

In addition to a state inheritance tax, New Jersey also imposes a separate state estate tax which has been decoupled from the federal estate tax laws. Here is a summary of the current New Jersey estate tax laws.

When is a New Jersey Estate Tax Return Required to be Filed?

A New Jersey estate tax return, Form IT-Estate, must be filed if the decedent's gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $675,000. How is the New Jersey Estate Tax Calculated?

The New Jersey estate tax is either the maximum credit for state inheritance, estate, succession or legacy taxes allowable under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2001 (this is called the "Form 706 Method"), or an amount determined pursuant to the Simplified Tax System prescribed by the Director, Division of Taxation (this is called the "Simplified Form Method").

The Form 706 Method must be used if the taxpayer is required to file a federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706.

If the taxpayer isn't required to file IRS Form 706, then, in addition to the Form 706 Method, the Simplified Form Method may be used provided that it produces a tax liability similar to the Form 706 Method.

When is the New Jersey Estate Tax Return and Any Payment Required Due?

Form IT-Estate must be filed and any tax due must be paid within nine months of the decedent's death, or nine months plus 30 days if the Form 706 Method is used.

An extension of time to file Form IT-Estate may be requested, however, even if an extension is granted it won't delay the time for payment of any tax due.

The Form 706 Method requires that Form IT-Estate be prepared and filed along with a 2001 IRS Form 706. This is in addition to IRS Form 706 for the year of the decedent's death if one is required to be filed. Where is the New Jersey Estate Tax Return Filed?

Mail the New Jersey estate tax return, Form IT-Estate, and all other required forms to:

NJ Inheritance Tax and Estate Tax
P.O. Box 249
Trenton, New Jersey 08695-0249

What is the New Jersey Estate Tax Rate?

The tax rate is a progressive rate that maxes out at 16% for the amount above $10,040,000.

Are Transfers to a Surviving Spouse Taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, a New Jersey estate tax may be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death if there is a gap between the New Jersey estate tax exemption and the federal estate tax exemption at the time the federal estate tax comes back into effect. A married decedent's estate is authorized to make an election on Form IT-Estate to treat property as marital deduction qualified terminable interest property ("QTIP") for New Jersey purposes, but married New Jersey couples cannot defer payment of both New Jersey estate taxes and federal estate taxes until after the death of the surviving spouse using an ABC Trust scheme.

Are Transfers to a Surviving Domestic Partner Taxable?

Federal estate tax laws do not have a provision providing a deduction for property passing to a domestic partner. However, if a New Jersey decedent was a partner in a civil union and died on or after February 19, 2007, and was survived by his or her partner, then a marital deduction equal to that permitted to a surviving spouse under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2001, is permitted for New Jersey estate tax purposes.

Does New Jersey Impose a Lien on the Deceased Person's Property?

For New Jersey decedents dying after December 31, 2001, the New Jersey estate tax remains a lien on all property of the decedent as of the date of death until paid. No property may be transferred without the written consent of the Director of the Division of Taxation.

Where Can I Find Additional Information About New Jersey Estate Taxes?

For more information about New Jersey estate taxes, refer to New Jersey Inheritance and Estate Tax General Information on the New Jersey Division of Taxation website.

Overview of Minnesota Estate Tax Laws

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Understanding How Minnesota Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

If you live in Minnesota, then you live in one of a handful of states that still collect a local death tax. The estates of Minnesota residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property and/or business interests located in Minnesota, are subject to a local death tax under the following guidelines.

NOTE: State and local laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice. When is an estate subject to the Minnesota estate tax?

If the decedent was a resident of Minnesota at the time of death, the estate may be subject to the Minnesota estate tax if the federal gross estate exceeds $1,000,000 on the date of death or if the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.

For nonresidents of Minnesota, an estate may be subject to the Minnesota estate tax if it includes Minnesota sitused property and the federal gross estate exceeds $1,000,000 on the date of death or if the estate is required to file a federal estate tax return. Note that new legislation passed in late May 2013 and expected to be signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton will subject Minnesota property owned by an S corporation, partnership, LLC or a trust of which a nonresident is a shareholder, partner, member or beneficiary to the Minnesota estate tax.

What Minnesota estate tax forms must be filed?

The estate representative of an estate that is subject to the Minnesota estate tax must complete and file the Minnesota Estate Tax Return, Form M706.

Note that as indicated above, a Minnesota Estate Tax Return may be required to be filed even if a federal estate tax return, IRS Form 706, is not required to be filed. Thus, the estate representative must first complete IRS Form 706 for the year of death before completing Form M706.

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, a Minnesota death tax may be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death due to the gap of $4,250,000 between the Minnesota exemption of $1,000,000 and the 2013 federal exemption of $5,250,000. While some states allow a married decedent's estate to make an election to treat a trust of which the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary as "qualified terminable interest property" ("QTIP" for short) for purposes of calculating the local estate tax, Minnesota law does not allow for this. Thus, married Minnesota residents cannot incorporate ABC Trust planning into their estate plans.

When are the Minnesota estate tax return and tax payment due?

The Minnesota Estate Tax Return, M706, must be filed, and any estate tax due must be paid, within 9 months after the decedent's date of death.

All estates are granted an automatic six-month extension of time to file Form M706. This means that a written request is not required to be submitted to the Minnesota Estate Tax Unit to request an extension to file. But regardless of whether or not IRS Form 706 is required to be filed, each estate has either 15 months from the decedent's date of death in which to file M706, or the maximum amount of time granted by the IRS in which to file IRS Form 706, whichever is longer.

There is no extension of time to pay the Minnesota estate tax allowed. Thus, any tax not paid by the regular due date will be subject to penalties and interest.

Where are the Minnesota estate tax return filed and tax payment made?

You can use one of the mailing labels provided in the instructions for Form M706 to mail your return and all required attachments to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

If you choose not to use the label, mail your forms to:

Minnesota Estate Tax
Mail Station 1315
St. Paul, MN 55146-1315

Minnesota estate taxes can be paid electronically online or by check.

To pay electronically, login to e-services. Enter the decedent's Social Security number and follow the prompts for individuals to make an estate tax return or an extension payment. You will receive a confirmation number when your transaction is complete.

For payment by check, make the check payable to "Minnesota Revenue" and mail the check with the appropriate payment voucher. For a tax return payment (taxes due with Form M706), complete and attach the voucher Form PV47. For an extension payment, complete and attach voucher Form PV86. Follow the instructions on the voucher.​ How is the Minnesota estate tax calculated?

Minnesota did not adopt the changes in the federal Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Thus, you must read the instructions for Form M706 for details on how to determine the federal gross estate and how to calculate the Minnesota estate tax. In addition, you must use the tax tables found in the Form M706 instructions and not the tables in the IRS Form 706 instructions in order to calculate the Minnesota estate tax due.

Also note that you can use the Minnesota Estate Tax Calculators for the applicable year of death provided on the Department of Revenue's website in order to verify that you have properly calculated the Minnesota estate tax due.

What is the Minnesota estate tax rate?

In general, a Minnesota estate will be subject to a tax of approximately 10%. However, the only way to calculate the exact amount of tax due is to complete the applicable IRS Form 706 and Minnesota Form M706. Where can I find additional information about Minnesota estate taxes?

For more information about Minnesota estate taxes, refer to the Minnesota Department of Revenue's Estate Tax Frequently Asked Questions.

You may also call the Estate Tax Unit at 651-556-3075 between 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or email the unit by following this link and clicking on "email" on the right hand side of the page: Estate Tax.

Overview of Hawaii Estate Tax Laws

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Understanding How Hawaii Estate Taxes Affect an Estate
By Julie Garber, About.com Guide

If you live in Hawaii, then you live in one of a handful of states that still collect a local death tax. The estates of Hawaii residents, as well as the estates of nonresidents who own real estate and/or tangible personal property located in Hawaii, are subject to a local death tax under the following guidelines.

NOTE: State and local laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes.  For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

When is an estate subject to the Hawaii estate tax?

In 2013, an estate of a resident of Hawaii, or a nonresident of Hawaii but U.S. resident or citizen, is taxable in Hawaii and a Hawaii Estate Tax Return, Form M-6, is required to be filed if the taxable estate (determined using IRS Form 706, Part 2, line 3a) is $5,250,000 or greater. Nonetheless, if the decedent is survived by a spouse and the spouse is allowed to claim an election for transfer, or "portability," of the deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion amount, then a Hawaii Estate Tax Return must be filed to make the election. See more on portability below.

The estate of a nonresident of the U.S., not a U.S. citizen, is taxable and a Hawaii Estate Tax Return is required to be filed if the taxable estate (determined using IRS Form 706-NA, Part II, line 1) is $60,000 or greater.

What Hawaii estate tax forms must be filed?

The personal representative or other fiduciary representing an estate that is subject to the Hawaii estate tax must complete and file the Hawaii Estate Tax Return, Form E-1.

Additional documents that must be filed with the Hawaii Department of Taxation when a Hawaii Estate Tax Return is required to filed are as follows: ◾IRS Form 706 (for the year of death) completed through Part 2, line 12, or IRS Form 706-NA completed through Part II, line 8 ◾All federal schedules with federal Forms 712, as required ◾Death certificate ◾Will ◾Trusts ◾Power of appointment documents ◾A copy of another state’s estate tax return or foreign estate tax return, if the estate is subject to other estate taxes ◾Any valuations or appraisals

Note that for estates that are not required to file a Hawaii Estate Tax Return, the personal representative or person(s) in possession, control, or custody of the decedent's property must file a Request for Release, Form M-6A, with the Department of Taxation if the agent wishes to obtain a release which indicates that the personal representative or person(s) in possession, control, or custody is/are free from taxes under chapter 236E, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Are transfers to a surviving spouse taxable?

Outright transfers to a surviving spouse are not taxable.

For married couples who have used AB Trust planning to reduce their federal estate tax bill, since the Hawaii estate tax exemption equals the federal estate tax exemption, a Hawaii death tax will not be due on the B Trust after the first spouse's death since there will not be a gap between the Hawaii exemption and the federal exemption.

Are transfers to a civil union partner taxable?

On January 1, 2012, civil unions became recognized in Hawaii. Civil unions entered into in a jurisdiction other than Hawaii are also recognized, provided that the relationship meets Hawaii’s eligibility requirements, has been entered into in accordance with the laws of the other jurisdiction, and can be documented. Hawaii law provides the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) sections and provisions referred to in Hawaii’s estate and generation-skipping transfer tax Laws that apply to a husband and wife, spouses, or person in a legal marital relationship will apply to partners in a civil union with the same force and effect as if they were “husband and wife”, “spouses”, or other terms that describe persons in a legal marital relationship.” Accordingly, references to “married”, “unmarried”, and “spouse” also means “in a civil union”, “not in a civil union”, and “civil union partner”, respectively.

Is portability of the Hawaii estate tax exception allowed between spouses?

Yes, but portability of Hawaii's estate tax exemption applies only to decedents who die after January 25, 2012 and who were U.S. residents or U.S. citizens and validly married on the date of death (including Hawaii civil unions or the equivalent) and to nonresidents of U.S., not U.S. citizens, where allowed by any applicable treaty obligation of the United States.

What is the Hawaii estate tax rate?

The Hawaii estate tax rate is a progressive one that starts out at 5% and tops out at 16%.

When are the Hawaii estate tax return and tax payment due?

The Hawaii Estate Tax Return, Form M-6, must be filed, and any estate tax due must be paid, within 9 months of the decedent's date of death. An extension of time to file the Hawaii Estate Tax Return does not extend the time to pay any tax due.

An extension to file the Hawaii Estate Tax Return, Form M-6, is based on the federal extension to file the federal estate tax return. Hawaii does not have a separate extension form, but an automatic six-month extension to file Form M-6 will be granted if: 1.A copy of the IRS approved extension to file the federal estate tax return, IRS Form 4768, is attached to Form M-6; and 2.Form M-6 is filed by the due date specified by the IRS for filing the federal estate tax return.

Where are the Hawaii estate tax return filed and tax payment made?

Mail all required forms and any payment due to:

Hawaii Department of Taxation
P.O. Box 259
Honolulu, Hawaii 96809-0259

Where can I find additional information about Hawaii estate taxes?

For more information about Hawaii estate taxes, refer to the Department of Taxation's website: Hawaii Department of Taxation.

You may call customer service at 808-587-4242 or toll free at 1-800-222-3229; Telephone for the Hearing Impaired at 808-587-1418 or toll free at 1-800-887-8974; or send a fax to 808-587-1488.

You may also email the department at Taxpayer.Services@hawaii.gov

Correspondence may be mailed to:

Taxpayer Services Branch
P.O. Box 259
Honolulu, HI 96809-0259

Does Hawaii collect an inheritance tax?

Does Hawaii collect a local inheritance tax, which is a tax assessed against the share received by each individual beneficiary of an estate as opposed to an estate tax, which is assessed against the entire estate? The answer to this question is No, Hawaii no longer collects a state inheritance tax because it was replaced with a state estate tax under "The Estate and Transfer Tax Reform Act of 1983."

State Estate Tax and Exemption Chart 2009-2013

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NOTE: State laws change frequently and the following information may not reflect recent changes in the laws. For current tax or legal advice, please consult with an accountant or an attorney since the information contained in this article is not tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

Currently only a handful of states and the District of Columbia collect a state estate tax. Below is a chart that lists which states collected state estate taxes from 2009 through 2013, along with each state's respective state estate tax exemption. Summary of Changes to State Estate Tax Laws

Here is a summary of the changes that took effect with regard to state estate tax laws between 2009 and 2013:

Delaware enacted a state estate tax that was only supposed to be effective for deaths occurring between July 1, 2009 and July 1, 2013. Nonetheless, in the spring of 2013 the Delaware legislature acted to eliminate the sunset of the tax.

Two states saw their estate tax exemption increase on January 1, 2010: Rhode Island's exemption increased to $850,000 and Connecticut's exemption increased to $3,500,000; however, see more on these two states below.

Two states saw their state estate tax disappear on January 1, 2010, due to state legislative action: Kansas and Oklahoma.

On June 27, 2011, S.L. 2011-330 was signed into law by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue. This law clarifies that the North Carolina estate tax does not apply to the estates of decedents who died in 2010 but will apply to the estates of decedents dying on or after January 1, 2011 with a $5,000,000 exemption, which is indexed for inflation in 2012 and future years.

Illinois saw its estate tax disappear on January 1, 2010 due to repeal of the federal estate tax, and despite the retroactive reinstatement of the federal estate tax, Illinois' tax did not come back automatically like in North Carolina. Nonetheless, the Illinois legislature acted quickly at the beginning of 2011 to reinstate the Illinois estate tax for the 2011 tax year with a $2,000,000 exemption. However, in December 2011 the Illinois legislature acted to increase the exemption to $3,500,000 in 2012 and $4,000,000 in 2013.

*Hawaii brought back its state estate tax effective May 1, 2010. Note that although the Hawaii estate tax exemption appears to be set at $3,500,000 for deaths occurring before January 26, 2012, in calculating the tax due the tax really does not kick in until the estate exceeds $3,600,000. In May 2012, Hawaii tweaked its estate tax laws to provide that the Hawaii estate tax exemption will be tied to the federal estate tax exemption for decedents dying after January 25, 2012.

The Rhode Island estate tax exemption will be adjusted for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2011 based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index rounded to the nearest $5.00.

Vermont's estate tax exemption was increased to $2,750,000 effective January 1, 2011.

On May 4, 2011, the Connecticut estate tax exemption was retroactively decreased from $3,500,000 back down to $2,000,000 for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2011.

On June 30, 2011, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the 2012 - 2013 budget into law, which eliminates the Ohio estate tax effective for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2013.

On January 1, 2012, the name of Oregon's death tax changed from an "inheritance tax" to an "estate tax." In addition, while the Oregon estate tax exemption (formerly inheritance tax exemption) remains at $1,000,000 for 2012 and future years, the tax will only apply to the value of an estate in excess of $1,000,000 (under prior law once an estate exceeded $1,000,000 the tax applied to the entire estate). The estate tax rates have also been changed for 2012 and future years such that the majority of estates valued between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 will pay slightly less in taxes and estates valued over $2,000,000 will pay slightly more in taxes. Note that on November 6, 2012, Oregon Ballot Measure 84, which would have repealed Oregon's estate tax by 2016, was defeated, so it does not appear that Oregon's estate tax will be repealed any time soon.

Effective January 1, 2013, Maine's estate tax exemption increased to $2,000,000 and the estate tax rate has been lowered.

In May 2012 Tennessee repealed its state gift tax retroactively to January 1, 2012. In addition, the Tennessee estate tax (referred to as an inheritance tax in the Tennessee statutes) will be phased out by 2016.

In June 2013, Washington tweaked its state estate tax laws in several ways that will affect the estates of decedents who die on or after January 1, 2014. First, the $2,000,000 exemption will be indexed for inflation on an annual basis. Second, the estate tax rates for the top four brackets will increase by one percentage point. Finally, certain family-owned businesses will receive an estate tax exemption of up to $2,500,000.

In an unusual move, Minnesota enacted a state gift tax that went into effect on July 1, 2013. Aside from this, Minnesota tweaked its estate tax laws as they are applied to nonresidents who own real estate in Minnesota. The new legislation includes Minnesota property held in a pass-through entity such as an S corporation, a partnership (including a multi-member LLC taxed as a partnership), a single-member LLC or similar entity, or a trust in a nonresident's estate.

In July 2013, North Carolina's estate tax was repealed retroactively to January 1, 2013.

State Estate Tax Rates

For information about current state estate tax rates, refer to the 2013 State Death Tax Exemption and Top Tax Rate Chart. State Inheritance Taxes

For information about state inheritance taxes, which are not the same as state estate taxes, refer to the State Inheritance Tax Chart.

State Estate Tax and Exemption Chart

State 2009 Exemption 2010 Exemption 2011 Exemption 2012 Exemption 2013 Exemption
Connecticut $2,000,000 $3,500,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Delaware $3,500,000 effective 07/01/2009 $3,500,000 $5,000,000 $5,120,000 $5,250,000
District of Columbia $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
*Hawaii No state estate tax $3,600,000 effective 05/01/2010 $3,600,000 $3,600,000 or $5,120,000 $5,250,000
Illinois $2,000,000 No state estate tax $2,000,000 $3,500,000 $4,000,000
Kansas $1,000,000 No state estate tax No state estate tax No state estate tax No state estate tax
Maine $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $2,000,000
Maryland $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Massachusetts $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Minnesota $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
New Jersey $675,000 $675,000 $675,000 $675,000 $675,000
New York $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
North Carolina $3,500,000 No state estate tax $5,000,000 $5,120,000 No state estate tax
Ohio $338,333 $338,333 $338,333 $338,333 No state estate tax
Oklahoma $3,000,000 No state estate tax No state estate tax No state estate tax No state estate tax
Oregon $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Rhode Island $675,000 $850,000 $859,350 $892,865 $910,725
Tennessee $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,250,000
Vermont $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,750,000 $2,750,000 $2,750,000
Washington $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000

 

Unintentionally Disinheriting Your Children- It’s Easier than You Think

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One of the strange outcomes of sloppy estate planning work is the case of unintentionally disinherited children.  Obviously this isn't something that most of us want to do, as you can ask 100 parents off of the streets whom they want to inherit their estate and all but a handful would answer, "My kids."  Unfortunately, many estate plans fail to accommodate this simple wish.

How Disinheritance Happens

The most common way that an unintentional disinheritance occurs is responsible parents draft what is referred to as an 'I love you will'.  This is a simple will that essentially says that when one spouse dies, the other will inherit the estate.  When the second spouse dies, the estate will then go to the children.  Sounds reasonable enough, right?

This is all well and good as long as neither spouse remarries after the other dies.  However, many spouses will remarry and draft another 'I love you will', and this creates a major problem.  In this second will, children from the first marriage are left out in the cold, as when the second parent dies, the entire estate is passed on to the second spouse and not the children.  At that point, it is entirely up to the second spouse as to whether or not the kids will see any money.

Since it is a second marriage, the odds of animosity towards the second marital partner are significantly higher.  This means that the chances of an unintentional disinheritance are much greater.  To solidify this concept, let's use a hypothetical example.

Example:  Matt and Lisa and Jeff

Matt and Lisa were married at the age of 25 and had two children - Jake and Anna.  Being responsible parents, Matt and Lisa drafted a simple will that would pass the estate on to the surviving spouse and then on to the kids.  Unfortunately, Matt had a heart attack at the age of 42 and died.  Lisa inherited the estate and life insurance proceeds.

Lisa, also 42, began dating a couple of years later and fell in love with Jeff.

After dating for two years, they tied the knot at the age of 46.  Being responsible adults, they updated their estate plan to reflect their recent marriage and put together another 'I love you will'.  Their marriage was strong and everyone was happy.

Shortly after Lisa's 67th birthday, she died.  Her estate plan that was drafted more than 20 years earlier was reviewed and executed.  Jeff inherited the estate and Lisa's children received nothing.  Feeling this wasn't right, Lisa's children, Jake and Anna, contested the will to no avail.

This created animosity and Jeff decided to draw up a new will that eliminated Jake and Anna as beneficiaries.  And there you have it:  an unintentional disinheritance.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we examined the concept of an unintentional disinheritance and how it happens.  If you wish to avoid having something like this occur, there are a number of ways to do so that can be as complicated as drafting a trust with QTIP provisions to simply updating your will based on changing needs.  We will explore these solutions in upcoming articles, but for now, it is important that you recognize this problem exists - particularly if you're already remarried with children.

 

Read This Column Before You Die

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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. - Mark Twain

It can be both comforting and horrifying to think that our time on earth is a nano-blink of an eye, a sliver of time that passes slowly when tax forms are being prepared and quickly when the sun is shining.

Death is something we all try not to think about, yet it is our ultimate goal, the ending of every book, if life were an autobiography. We mostly shrug it off because, after all, we can’t avoid it.

But we can make the most of the inevitable. How? By planning ahead, not only for the sake of our families, but for ourselves. We’ve written before about the importance of making financial goals, but life goals are also essential. And, as with financial goals, you can’t meet them if you don’t have them.

The ultimate plan

Whether you’re getting on in age, have a terminal illness or are young and healthy, no one knows what will happen tomorrow, so prepare today. But what should your ultimate plan entail?

Make a "bucket list." The co-author of the book, "100 Things to Do Before You Die," died in an accident when he was 47. According to his writing partner, he had completed about half of his "to do" list when he died. Because he had a list and was determined to achieve his goals, he did many things he never would have done otherwise.

However, his co-author also noted that he traveled alone, so he could move through his list quicker. Sadly, the author missed an important point - it really isn’t about the list. Your list should be a guide to living life to the fullest. If you’re going through a list just to cross something off, why bother?

Whether you’re planning to go skydiving and want to visit the seven wonders of the world, like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did in "The Bucket List," or you have more modest goals, like learning a foreign language or cooking a gourmet meal, keep in mind that it’s important to savor the moment - and shouldn’t you be savoring the moment with a loved one or friend?

When you make out your bucket list, be certain that everything on it is something you can accomplish. Although you never know until you try, dating Angelina Jolie or winning an Olympic gold medal are about as realistic for most of us as winning the lottery. While it is important to believe in yourself, you need to know your limitations.

It’s also important to give your list some thought. Many of us don’t really know what we want. Sitting and planning out your life - and beyond - is not something you should do one day during your lunch break. Take your time and really think about what you want to do. Then develop a plan for achieving everything on your list.

Update your financial goals. Ideally, you could plan for retirement first and then plan for the next phase when you’re retired. But, since no one knows when the next phase will begin, you need to plan for it now.

What do you want to happen after you’re gone? Is there a charity you would like to help? Do you want to fund your grandchildren’s college education? Think beyond your retirement and write out your goals.

Plan your estate

Estate planning is not just for the very wealthy. It’s true that current law allows an exemption of assets worth up to $5 million from federal estate taxes, but in Massachusetts any estate with a value greater than $1 million is subject to estate taxes.

If you reside in Massachusetts and your estate exceeds $1 million in value, including the value of your home, your investment portfolio, your life insurance benefits and other assets, it will be subject to state taxation at a rate of up to 16 percent.

However, because Massachusetts has no gift tax, gifts can be made during your lifetime to reduce your taxable estate. It’s been said that death and taxes are the only certainties, but with careful planning, sometimes one of the two can be avoided.

Of course, there’s more to estate planning that reducing taxes. It’s also important to have a will, which determines how your property will be divided after your death. Without this essential legal document, your property may not be divided according to your intentions. Most likely, it will also become tied up in Probate Court and it may take years before your survivors have access to your assets.

Make certain you seek the assistance of an attorney with experience making out wills. Having a will that is not legally valid can be worse than having no will at all because it may be disputed. Also, be certain to update your will periodically.

Keep in mind that retirement accounts and life insurance policies are not covered by your will, as you designate beneficiaries when you sign a contract for these assets. Make certain that you have designated individuals you truly want to be your beneficiaries and you have not unintentionally excluded anyone, such as a child born after you initially designated your beneficiaries. Plan your legacy assets. Most people consider their financial assets in planning their estate. You also have accumulated many other assets during your lifetime. Some of the best assets are the memories of special events or family gatherings. Many of these are recorded photographically and able to be passed on to heirs.

However, the asset value of the wisdom garnered, the valuable experiences received, the life lessons learned, the appreciation of others that have helped you along the way are all assets available for sharing.

Similar to a will that administers your financial assets, you can prepare a separate letter, memoranda or formal ethical will to pass on to your family and others.

Get organized

Your death will likely be difficult on your family. You can ease the burden by planning your funeral and letting your wishes be known. Do you have a cemetery plot? Have you picked out a casket? Is there a charity to which you would like contributions sent?

If you take care of every detail, your children and your spouse won’t have to. Clean out your attic and your closet and get rid of unwanted items. Give away anything you won’t use. Go through your photos and organize them. Determine if you need to change their medium to an electronic format.

People often tell me that they do not want to be a burden to their children. It can be painful for your family to have to deal with these issues; dealing with them yourself will make it easier on them.

Also, be certain to choose an executor for your will. Talk to your executor and make certain that he or she has a true understanding of your wishes and will carry them out to the last detail. Many times writing a letter of instruction to your executor or trustee is helpful for those matters not easily handled by the formal document.

You may not care what happens after you die, but keep in mind that your decisions today will have an eternal impact and could affect how you are remembered.

Seek balance

Death and taxes may be inevitable, but the more time you spend preparing for either, the better the outcome is likely to be. If you were to die tomorrow, that would be tragic. The tragedy would be compounded, though, if your family had to deal with matters without knowing your wishes. Regardless, in the process of planning for the future, don’t forget to live for today. Carrying out your bucket list is more important - and more fun - than preparing it.

Ask yourself what you are doing today that you would change. Is your career fulfilling? Do you have a secret ambition, like writing a book or taking a special trip? Act on your passions and interests today, before it is too late. Plan for the future, but enjoy life today. Carpe diem!

Darrell J. Canby

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Comprehensive Estate Planning Documents - Revocable Living Trusts - Will Package - Ancillary Documents

What Gives Our Documents the Leading Edge?

Detailed and comprehensive, these documents have been developed through nearly 30 years of hands-on improvement by hundreds of attorneys throughout the US resulting in thousands of satisfied clients. They are drafted to ensure accuracy with current state and federal laws, and are updated as changes occur.

The Revocable Living Trust contains over 222 carefully worded provisions so that the trust can accommodate a client’s changing circumstances and to cover additional contingent situations without needing to be legally modified.  The trust is also universal; that is applicable in all 50 states, for a client may eventually own property in or even move to another state.

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Here is a list of what our package includes:

  • 1 set of Ancillary Documents per person (DPOA for assets, DPOA for healthcare or Advanced Directive, Living Will, Nomination of Conservator, Appointment of Guardian, and Anatomical Gift)
  • Abstract of Trust
  • Trust Certification
  • Pour-Over Will
  • Assignment of Furnishings and Personal Effects
  • 1 three-ring professional quality binder with tabs and inserts
  • 1 set of quality documents with Plain English summaries
  • Funding Manual

We offer a wide variety of estate planning solutions and documents customized at your direction.

Nationally Transportable Living Trusts

Single A Trust
Married A Trust
Married/Unmarried AB Trust
Married ABC Trust
A Q-TIP Trust (for married person)
Partner AA Trust
Partner AB Secure Trust (for Domestic Partners)
Complete Amendment
Partial Amendment

Vital Ancillary Documents

There are a number of other legal documents that are not legally required parts of the Living Trust but which should be included in or with the Trust to provide for future contingencies. Our ancillary documents offer you additional control over your person or assets. These documents are so vital; they are included, at no additional charge as part of your comprehensive document package.

Pour-Over Will
Living Will
Durable Power Of Attorney For Health Care
Durable Power Of Attorney For Assets
Nomination Of Conservator/Guardian
Appointment Of Guardian
Anatomical Gift

Advanced Planning Vehicles

Because many individuals have needs that go beyond basic estate planning, we offer numerous Advanced Estate Planning Solutions that can be incorporated into your overall estate plan. These documents should be considered as a supplement to your Living Trust to shelter your hard-earned estate from unnecessary estate taxes.

■Asset Management Trust (Spendthrift Trust)
■Beneficiary Trust (Dynasty)
■Buy/Sell Agreement
■Catastrophic Illness Trust (Medicaid Planning Trust)
■Charitable Remainder Trust
■Family Catastrophic Illness Trust
■Gift Trust
■Insurance Preservation Trust- Spousal Support (ILIT)
■Insurance Preservation Trust (ILIT)
■IRA/Qualified Plan Trust
■Land Trust
■Special Needs

“A POORLY WRITTEN TRUST IS WORSE THAN NO TRUST AT ALL.” Henry Abts, III

A poorly drawn trust can become a restrictive nightmare for the surviving spouse or successor trustee and beneficiaries. As long as the clients are living, it does not matter what a Living Trust says, because it can always be revoked. However, upon the death of the client, these poorly written Trusts are going to end up in probate court, with petitions being presented to revise or clarify the Trust wording. (Even though the main advantage of a Living Trust is to avoid probate, a Trust falls under the legal jurisdiction of the probate code; any need for clarification of a Trust therefore must be handled in the probate courts.)

One size does not fit all – no two people or families are alike! Your family’s needs, dynamics, personalities, and values are unique. If you use a form kit, you are asking for problems. Even LegalZoom.com reveals that 80% of people who fill in blank forms to create legal documents do so incorrectly. Plus, if your Will or Living Trust is not executed properly, it becomes invalid. If you overlook the opportunity to write specific instructions about how you want to provide for your spouse and children, your family will receive whatever the “cookie cutter” document provides, and you may not know of other options. The only estate plan you rely on is the one that is custom prepared by a qualified estate planning professional attorney.

A well-written comprehensive trust document comes about only through extensive experience. The Estate Planning Source’s trust documents are the result of more than 28 years of working together with legal counsel to cover every imaginable contingency.

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