Advanced Estate Tax Planning
Advanced estate tax planning can be very beneficial to your family, if done properly. Which tax planning tool would be most beneficial to your family depends on a lot of factors, Including your family dynamics.
Congress generally allows you to leave a certain amount of assets estate tax-free when you die, known as the exemption amount. The value of your assets that exceed the exemption amount will be subject to estate taxes, unless they are left to a surviving spouse or to a charity. Even if you leave the assets to your surviving spouse, those assets will likely be subject to estate taxes when your spouse dies and leaves the assets to his or her beneficiaries.
In addition to minimizing estate taxes, it is important to do planning to ensure that there are sufficient liquid assets available to pay estate taxes when they are due nine months after you die. This is especially true in Southern California, where increasing real estate values have placed many people in potential estate tax situations.
There are several advanced estate tax planning techniques that can be used to help reduce estate taxes. Some of these techniques are discussed in this section.