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The Basics of Transfer Taxes

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2008 | Estate Planning, Firm News

1. What are the federal transfer taxes?

There are three federal transfer taxes – the gift tax, the estate tax, and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. Each of these impose a tax on wealth transfers made during life or at death. The goal of the estate planning attorney is to avoid or minimize these taxes by taking advantage of exemptions, exclusions and deductions as part of an overall wealth transfer plan.

2. Are there any state transfer taxes?

Yes, many states have wealth transfer taxes, which can apply in addition to the federal transfer taxes. Florida does not have a wealth transfer tax, but even if you are a Florida resident, you may have state transfer taxes if you own property in a state other than Florida.

3. In terms of my net worth, at what point should I be concerned about planning to avoid transfer taxes?

If your taxable estate is less than the estate tax exemption at the time of your death, no federal estate tax will be due. Conversely, if your taxable estate exceeds the exemption available to you, estate tax will be due based upon the value of your taxable estate that exceeds the available exemption.