Estate & Asset Protection Planning Strategies to

Reduce or Eliminate Estate Taxes

Federal and Massachusetts Estate Tax Changes


The fiscal cliff has come and gone.  What is left in its wake and how does it impact your estate planning decisions? The tables that follow will show the rate and the exemption changes for the estate and gift taxes that have and will occur from 2005 thru 2015.  You will see that in 2005 the estate tax rate was at 47% but over the years has fallen to as low as 35% but has seemed to settled in at 40% of your total taxable estate. The only impending legislative discussions as of now was President Obama’s 2015 budget proposal in which he wants to go back to the 2009 estate tax rules which would put the federal estate tax exemption at $3,500,000 and return the estate tax rate to 45%.  Keeping this in mind, while we have been told that the estate tax laws shown here are now “permanent” one must ask, “What does that really mean?”  Advanced planning is and always will be the best possible way to protect you from paying unnecessary taxes.


The estate tax exemption amounts listed in the table that follows represent the amount of assets any one person can leave to someone other than a spouse without paying any estate taxes.  The old problem with this was that if you did not use the exemptions at your death then you would lose them.  However, following the fiscal cliff the government has now created something called Portability of Exemptions.

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