Estate and Gift Taxes
Estate tax and gift tax are used by governments to tax large transfers of wealth between individuals. On the Federal level, although gift taxes and estate taxes are paid separately, they are a unified tax in the sense that a single graduated rate schedule applies to the cumulative total of taxable transfers made through gifts and estates. The laws surrounding the estate tax and gift tax are often complex and constantly changing. It's crucial that you consult with a qualified attorney when planning your estate.
For example, while the New York laws and Federal laws are similar there are a number of important differences between the two. In New York, the gift tax was eliminated in or about the year 2000. On the Federal level, the gift tax still applies although there are certain annual exclusions and life-time exemptions. Beginning in April 2014, New York changed its estate tax exemptions so that the total exempt value of an estate would be $2,062,500 beginning on April 1, 2014 which would steadily increase to approximately $6,000,000 in 2019.
Due to the variations between the New York and Federal tax laws, a Manhattan Estate Planning attorney, as well as estate planning attorneys throughout the State, are routinely consulted by their clients as to the impact of the new laws may have on their estate plans. It was only in 2011 that the Federal estate tax laws received dramatic changes that increased the exemptions to levels that are increasingly more than $5,000,000.
It is probably a sure bet that in the coming years both the Federal and New York estate tax laws will again be revised in some manner. While many estates seem not be subject to the estate and gift tax laws because their value appears to be below the exemption amounts, it is a good idea to review assets and value just to be certain. An estate is valued by the date of death value of all assets owned by a decedent. These current values can be much larger than expected. While stocks and bonds may have large increases and declines, the overall value of a securities portfolio may increase over time. Also, individual assets such as real estate and business interests may have dramatic increases due to current market conditions. Thus, when a person adds up all assets including stocks, real estate, retirement funds, life insurance and business holdings, the estate tax exemption amount may be exceeded.
I can help answer questions about estate tax and gift tax such as: What is included in an estate for tax purposes? What is excluded from the estate? What deductions are available to reduce the estate tax?
I have many years of experience working with and advising clients in the creation and implementation of plans that involve both estate tax and gift tax. I work with clients to advance their personal desires regarding the disposition and protection of assets while attempting to provide potential tax advantages and security for their family and beneficiaries.
For personalized attentive service and a free case evaluation you can contact me by telephone: (212) 355-2575, fax: (212) 751-5911 or e-mail