VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

The end of death tax inevitability?

With new health care laws recently passed, the administration of President Donald Trump is moving on to its next agenda item. Tax reform is next on the to-do list. Checking off that box could lead to the largest reform since 1986.

While income tax reductions and simplification is an attractive head-turner for the average citizen, estate taxes, also known as death taxes, are a far more complex issue. Imposing levies post-grave can fall into two different categories.

Estate Taxes

Your right to transfer property upon your death can be taxed by the federal government. Complex calculations will determine its taxable value for your estate. Few people actually need to worry about estate taxes, as exemptions exist for the first $5.49 million (as of 2017). Most do not enjoy that type of largesse.

States usually follow federal estate limits. Others have reduced the limit with Massachusetts and Oregon estate taxes kicking in at the first $1 million.

Inheritance taxes

Assessments tend to be more state specific. Kentucky is one of six that have an inheritance tax. Each estate beneficiary receives an exemption from inheritance taxes based on the relationship to the loved one who has passed on.

Deductions exist to reduce the inheritance tax burden. Expenses include:

  • Funeral costs up to a certain limit
  • Administration expenses including commissions, appraisal and legal fees, and court costs
  • The decedent's debts, including liens against property from past due taxes at the time of death

The saying goes that death and taxes are the only inevitable thing in life. However, death taxes itself may not be so automatic.

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