Author: gailk1

Why you shouldn’t be concerned about the Federal Estate Tax

The federal estate tax is also sometimes known as the “death tax”. This is a federal tax imposed upon estates in which the assets total greater than $5.43 million for individuals who are single at the time of their death. No death taxes are imposed on estates where a person leaves all assets to a surviving spouse.

Surprisingly, the federal death tax affects very few people. In 2013 over 2.5 million people died and only approximately 4,600 of them had taxable estates. That’s less than .2% of the people who died.

I hope for each of my clients that at the time of their death that they are in the lucky 200th of a percent (.2%) of the population who dies with a federally taxable estate.

What happens if you die before you sign your will. Who gets what?

People frequently wonder what will happen if they die intestate – that is, without a will.  Don’t worry, the state has written a will for you, but it just may not be the one you want.  The following is a summary of that state-authored will:

• If you are married and have children under the age of 18, your estate is split between your spouse and your kids.  Your kids receive their shares when they reach their 18th birthdays, and nobody supervises how they spend the money.

• If you are married and have kids who are 18 years or older, your assets are divided between your spouse and children.

• If you are married and don’t have kids, your assets are divided between your spouse and your parents (if they are still living).  If your parents have died, your estate goes to your spouse.

• If you are single but have children, your assets are given to your children.

• If you are single and childless, your assets are divided among your siblings and parents, depending on who is alive.