Estate and Gift Tax Planning

When clients come in for estate planning, they are often worried about estate taxes. Without a plan, it is much more likely that estate taxes will apply at death.

For many, however, state and federal estate taxes can be minimized or avoided altogether by building an estate plan that includes the right building blocks and strategies. Married couples with assets over the Washington State exemption amount ($2.193M as of 2020) can utilize trust strategies to allow the up to twice the exemption (nearly $4.4M) to pass without estate taxation. This has become increasingly important for couples who own homes in Washington, where values have skyrocketed in our hot real estate market.

Individuals and couples may also consider lifetime gifting strategies as part of their estate plan, to direct assets to their loved ones even before death. At the federal level, the exemption level is much higher ($11.58M, or $23M for a couple, as of 2020), but planning strategies can help clients make decisions now to reduce the taxation that will be applied in the future.

An estate planning attorney can review your overall estate—both now and as it will likely change over time—to identify opportunities to include tax planning in your estate plan. Please feel free to contact the estate planning attorneys at our office for guidance and assistance. ​