2011: Estate Planning in Washington State – The Great, the Bad and the particular Ugly

The Good News: Advantageous Changes to Federal Regulation for 2011 plus 2012

After months associated with negotiations subsequent the lapse of the Federal government estate tax in 2010, Congress finally got around in order to enacting new estate tax rules at the end of this past year. On December 17, the year 2010, the Taxes Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Work of 2010 was enacted which usually significantly increased the number of estates exempt from Federal estate plus present taxes. Specifically, these functions were included in the new regulation regarding estate plus gift taxes:

� The total amount exempt from estate tax was increased to $5 million (from $3. 5 million in 2009) for individuals who die in 2011 plus this year.
� The life time gift tax exemption was improved from $1 thousand to $5 million plus “unified” to the full extent with the estate exemption : meaning a person may make a combined total of lifetime gifts and bequests from their loss of life of $5 million or even much less and avoid paying any Federal government taxes. The federal generation-skipping exchange tax exemption was similarly increased to $5 million (from $3. five million in 2009)
� The maximum estate tax price was reduced to 35% (from 45% in 2009).
� The new law also presented the idea of “portability” into a betrothed couples’ estate tax exemptions – “portability” allows the surviving spouse to make use of any unused portion associated with the particular $5 million exemption from your estate of their particular spouse which dies within 2011 or 2012.

The particular Bad News: No Assistance For 2013 and Over and above

For whatever reason, Congress decided to sunset the new rules on the finish of 2012 that will result in estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions all reverting to $1 million starting in 2013. The future of spousal exemption “portability” also remains unknown. Additionally, the highest tax rate will enhance through 35% to 55%. While we can wish that Congress will from least extend these types of conditions, this is impossible to inform what the political landscape may be like in 2012 and 2013 whenever Congress will once again decide what the Federal property and gift tax plan will become. As a result, it is essential that current Estate Plans have built-in flexibility concerning disclaimer and trust provisions to allow beneficiaries in order to take full advantage associated with what ever the tax laws and regulations may be in the future.

The Ugly: Washington State Estate Taxes Remain The same

While it may appear such as the changes now exempt nearly all estates from estate plus gift taxes (at minimum until 2013), Buenos aires Condition has its own estate taxes on estates valued more than $2 million which is not affected by the changes at the particular federal level. Furthermore, the particular “portability” provision of the Federal property tax really does not utilize intended for Washington State estate tax reasons. While direct transfers in order to a surviving spouse are completely exempt from both Federal and state property taxes from the death of the first partner (the amount of gifts to a surviving partner are deducted from the gross estate of the deceased), this deduction just defers Washington State taxes in the estate until the death of the living through partner. To put estate planning attorney Temecula , this means that the combined property of a Washington State couple will be subject to Washington property fees to the extent this is worth more than $2 million upon the death of the second spouse, unless suitable tax planning actions are usually which includes in the Estate Plan. Furthermore, since the taxable estate contains both probate and non-probate assets (including insurance coverage and retirement accounts) it really is clear that many should end up being worried about state taxes whenever talking about their Estate Plan.

It will be possible that the Buenos aires legislature might enact changes to our property tax laws, but if everything it is more likely these people will increase, not lower, the tax given previous history as well as the current economic situation of our condition budget. In fact, at the begining of 2010 the bill was introduced to double the current Washington State estate tax rates to 20% to 38%.

I cannot stress how important it is to discuss state taxes effects on your estate
together with your attorney when looking at your own Estate Plan.


There are prepared the following hypotheticals to demonstrate the significance of a Property Plan substantial specific provisions regarding Washington State taxes. My hypotheticals suppose these:
� Almost all state and federal exemptions and tax rates stay the same.
� All of the particular couples have simple wills giving the entire estate downright to the living through husband or wife and the surviving partner bequests their estate to their children.
� All home is owned as local community real estate.

1. A somewhat rich retired couple living inside Wa State have the particular following property:

1. Main residence (worth $800, 000; mortgage associated with $300, 000) $500, 500
2. Vacation/rental property (worth $400, 500, mortgage $200, 000) one hundred dollar, 000
3 or more. Bank accounts/CD’s/Money markets one-hundred dollar, 000
four. Stocks/Bonds/Investments $250, 000
five. IRA’s/401k/Retirement Accounts $600, 500
6. Life insurance death benefits (for husband) $600, 000
7. Cars/Boats/RV $100, 000
eight. Misc. Individual Property (art, jewellery, clothing, etc. ) $50, 500
Total $2, 500, 500

If Partner dies within 2011, his taxable estate in Washington consists of just about all separate property along with the community real estate. Since the total Neighborhood Property can be $2, 500, 000 the particular taxable estate is of that will ($1, two hundred fifty, 000). Since all of their possessions pass to his surviving partner, there is simply no property tax.

Now imagine the particular surviving Wife life off the income generated through the assets and the particular size of her estate at her passing away is $2. 5 thousand. Since presently there is no “portability” from the husband’s rarely used state exemption of $2 million, you will have Washington estate tax because of on $500, 000 from the $2. 5 million property (the amount in excess of Wife’s $2 mil exemption). In current prices this means $50, 500 due to Washington State. While this amount is not a massive amount and just represents 2% of the particular estate, it could have already been avoided entirely for the fraction of the price through successful Estate Planning.

A simple way in order to avoid all taxes upon both estates: While there are many Estate Planning techniques that could have avoided all condition taxes, the simplest would certainly be how the Husband’s will certainly should have passed on a portion of the estate to beneficiaries various other compared to their wife in the trust which could still provide Wife with the income produced from these assets during her lifetime. Suppose Husband’s will acquired given from least $500, 000 in order to his children in the credit score shelter trust (or provided his Wife the particular capability to disclaim a portion associated with the estate into a disclaimer trust with the children as ultimate beneficiaries) which provided that the income be used to support his wife during her life. Their wife would be no even worse off since she could live from the income generated from each her assets and the trust possessions. Then when she dies, her estate consists of no more than $2, 000, 000, the credit shelter believe in resources pass automatically in order to the children and are not part of Wife’s estate, and everything is completely exempt from Washington Condition estate tax.

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