Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Do You Intend Your Estate Planning to Disinherit Your Spouse?

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Tue, Jul 27, 2010

The federal estate tax has been repealed for just one year: this year.  Unless Congress intervenes, it comes back next year with a vengeance.  This bizarre case of the disappearing estate tax means that you - and your estate - may be at risk.  Couples who planned their estates responsibly for 2009, and even 2011, could virtually disinherit a surviving spouse should something happen to one of them.  A recent articles posted at Forbes.com explained how:

For estate tax planning purposes, married couples traditionally use a planning technique known as "A-B" trusts.  Upon the death of the first to die, the original single trust is split into two trusts, a "decedent's trust" or "tax credit trust" (A) and a "survivor's trust" (B).  The decedent's trust is funded with the greatest value of assets on which where will be no federal estate tax for the first to die.  The remainder of the couple's assets fund the survivor's trust.  Done properly, at the death of the second spouse, the assets in the decedent's trust go to the children, with no taxes due, since they technically passed to the next generation under the estate tax exemption of the first spouse who died.  In this way, the couple is still able to take advantage of the estate tax credit granted to each individual spouse...Since the estate tax has been eliminated for persons dying in 2010, a decedent's trust created by the traditional language--"the largest taxable estate on which no federal estate tax is payable"--will contain all of the couple's assets and the survivor's trust will have no assets!

Estate Tax 2010 Repeal

Our office holds regular Trust, Estate and Asset Protection workshops where we review the current estate tax laws and educate individuals and families on how their planning can be improved to provide the greatest legacy for your spouse and children. Our upcoming schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, August 5th at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm;
  • Thursday, August 19th at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm;
  • Thursday, September 16th at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

Register for a complimentary workshop by calling (800) 964-4295 (24 hours) or through our website by following this link.  We also provide continuing education on this topic for financial professionals.  Contact our office for more information.

Tags: Estate Planning, 2011, estate tax, estate tax savings, massachusetts estate planning strategies, tax exemption, applicable exclusion

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