Upcoming Estate Planning and Probate changes for 2013

In December of 2010 the United States legislature enacted the Tax Relief Act, which was good news for anyone planning his or her estate. The Tax Relief Act raised the value of estate exemption from the dreaded federal estate tax to $5 million dollars per individual and $10 million per married couple. This meant that through the probate of a simple will, probate attorneys could distribute up to $10 million of estate assets without any federal estate tax liability. To make matters even better, if you were one of the lucky few whose estate was in excess of the $10 million exemption, the updated Federal Estate Tax rate was lowered from 45% to 35%.

The 2010 Tax Relief Act also eliminated the previous need for elaborate trusts between spouses by introducing the concept of “portability”. Portability allows the surviving spouse to tack on any unused federal estate tax exemption of the first spouse to die to the surviving spouse’s estate. For example, if a husband dies first and leaves $3 million to his wife, his surviving wife can still pass $7 million of her own estate without any federal estate tax liability through the probate of a simple will.

In 2012, the federal estate tax exemption was adjusted for inflation and increased to $5,120,000.00 per individual and $10,240,000.00 per married couple. As such, with the help of a New York probate attorney and ordinary will, without the need for crazy estate planning or elaborate trusts, a married couple can now pass $10,240,000.00 of estate assets without any federal estate tax liability.

For 2013, the stage is set for Congressional intervention as the federal estate tax exemption is scheduled for reduction from the current $10,240,000.00 amount. Looking forward it is important to note that neither this presidency nor any presidency before it has ever reduced the federal estate tax exemption in any given year. As such we can expect legislative intervention after the November election but before the end of 2012, extending if not increasing the current federal estate tax exemption levels.

Therefore, if you have any estate questions it is a good time to contact your New York Probate Attorneys at The Law Offices of Jason W. Stern & Associates and get your affairs in order. We are the best Probate Attorneys in Queens with over 40 years of combined experience probating wills in New York for families like yours. When dealing with your family’s financial future you should have the best counsel available. Feel free to contact a New York Probate attorney at (718)261-2444.


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