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Gift & Estate Tax Planning

What Are Estate and Gift Taxes 

Gift and estate taxes are taxes imposed on the transfer of property to someone either during your lifetime or at death. Both the Federal government and State of Florida have gift and estate taxes. The state taxes are currently subtracted directly from the federal tax, usually resulting in no extra tax, and therefore are of no consequence in this discussion, but this may change in the near future. The Federal Estate tax has recently been revised. 

At the Law Offices of Barbara Buxton, P.A., we advise clients on all aspects of federal and state gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxation. This level of tax planning generally applies to wealthy individuals and their families who face potentially heavy estate and gift taxes. Although these clients face exposure to high federal and state taxes, we structure plans that reduce or even eliminate these taxes through lifetime and post-mortem planning. In addition, we represent family businesses and handle many non-tax legal matters. 

Currently, there is a tax imposed if the gross estate is greater than $1,500,000. That amount will increase over the next several years. The tax will eventually be eliminated for one year but then revert back to the $1,000,000.00 exemption amount. Because each individual is allowed to do whatever he or she wishes with this amount, it is important for couples with an estate more than $1,500,000 to consult an attorney to structure their estates to take advantage of the law and protect this deduction for each spouse. 

Also, during your lifetime, you can gift away $11,000 per year, per person, to as many people as you choose, without any negative tax consequences to the person making the gift, or the person receiving the gift. This gifting has no effect on the gift tax exemption of the first $1,000,000 or on the estate tax exemption of $1,500,000.00 of an individual’s estate. If your total estate is less than $1,000,000 then you can gift larger amounts yearly with no tax consequences. For gifts over $11,000 it is necessary to file a gift tax return, but there will be no gift tax due. 

How We Can Help You

For clients interested in minimizing the impact of transfer taxes on their estate, we offer simple estate tax savings and asset protection strategies, such as: 

  • Credit Shelter Trust
  • Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP trusts)

We offer more sophisticated transfer tax savings and asset protection strategies, such as: 

  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Family Limited Liability Companies
  • Buy-Sell Agreements
  • Estate Freeze and Valuation Discount Strategies
  • Charitable Remainder and Charitable Lead Trusts
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Dynasty Trusts
  • Grantor Retained Income Trusts
  • Qualified domestic trusts (QDOT)
  • Qualified Sub-S Trusts (QSST)

For clients interested in making substantial gifts to charity during their lifetime or at death, we develop and implement major gifts of property and stock, and have assisted clients with various types of deferred gifts, including charitable leads and remainder trusts, gift annuities, non-trust remainder gifts, and gifts of life insurance policies. For business owners, providing for business continuity and succession of ownership is essential. 

This is an area of law that is too complicated to present in a few paragraphs. If, after you add up all of your assets, insurance, retirement plans, possible inheritances, and others sources of wealth, you come up with a total of $1,200,000 or more, consult with an estate planning attorney and/or your accountant to determine if you should take further steps to lessen or avoid federal taxes when you or your spouse die. 

We can guide you through the complex process of eliminating or minimizing your gift and estate taxes and getting your financial affairs in order.

Please contact our office today if you or a family member is in need of legal assistance and would like to set up an appointment to have your situation evaluated. 

Our law firm is conveniently located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, in Aventura, Florida, on Biscayne Boulevard between the Hallandale Beach Boulevard exit and the Ives Dairy Road exit off of I-95. Other South Florida office locations are available, as well as home and hospital visits are available upon request.