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How to Avoid Federal Estate Taxes

Trust a Denver Estate Planning Lawyer to Protect Your Assets

The federal estate tax, which is often referred to as "the death tax," is a tax imposed on any estate that exceeds a certain dollar amount. Because that amount has changed from year to year, tax avoidance planning can be difficult. For example, the estate tax exemption was $2,000,000 per person in 2008; $3,500,000 in 2009; $5,000,000 in 2011, $5,250,000 in 2013, and it is anyone's guess what the exemption will be in the future. It is prudent to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

There are a number of estate planning tools that can reduce and sometimes eliminate the federal estate tax. The unlimited marital deduction, for example, states that no tax should be paid by a married couple until the surviving spouse dies if both spouses name each other as beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the unlimited marital deduction only defers the federal estate tax and does not eliminate it. Single persons and couples that cohabitate are not eligible for the unlimited marital deduction.

Options to Help Reduce Estate Taxes

Clients who are proactive in terms of estate planning can significantly reduce or eliminate the federal estate tax.

Some of the available means to accomplish this objective are:

  • Making gifts to family members, charities or friends during your lifetime
  • Establishing an irrevocable life insurance trust which removes the life insurance death benefit from the estate of the insured
  • Establishing a living revocable trust for both spouses which enables the couple to increase their estate tax exemption from $5,250,000 to $10,500,000
  • Creating a charitable remainder trust which removes assets from the estate and eliminates the capital gains tax when the asset is sold
  • Creating a family limited partnership (FLP) or limited liability company (LLC) enables one to gift shares of a family business, farm, or ranch to family members without surrendering control of the business

Attentive Representation from the James A. Littlepage Law Offices

Denver estate planning lawyer James A. Littlepage has represented clients in all types of estate planning and probate matters and can assist you with reducing taxes on your estate. Attorney Littlepage was recognized with a 2015 and 2016 Five Star Estate Planning Attorney℠ award. In 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 he received the Five Star Wealth Manager℠ award, as seen in 5280 and ColoradoBiz magazines.

If you would like legal guidance for your situation, contact our firm at your earliest convenience. We can be reached at 303.756.5808!