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Help me understand estate tax

As with most aspects of estate planning, the tax implications of it can be somewhat confusing. Many times individuals looking to make charitable contributions or gift away assets have to consider the tax consequences involved in those decisions. However, for estate planners in the Sunshine State of Florida, that's where the worry pretty much ends.

Estate tax or 'death tax,' as it's been called, has been a non-issue in Florida since 2005. Since then, there has not been a separate death tax for any estate worth under $5 million. For individuals whose estate value falls under the cap of $5 million, there is no need to worry about paying a separate estate tax at either the state or federal level.

For individuals looking to make charitable contributions as a part of an estate plan, there are simple methods of safeguarding your donation. The most important thing to do is keep accurate records of valuations, donations and contributions. While minor contributions usually don't raise too many eyebrows, large contributions may require more stringent record keeping.

Gifting assets to loved ones, either before or after death, as part of an estate plan, can have separate tax consequences that may require the help of a professional. To make sure that your loved ones are able to enjoy your generosity, it is important that you properly file a gift tax return.

While understanding inheritance and charity tax consequences can be difficult, it is nothing a skilled attorney can't handle. With their help, you may be able to create an effective estate plan that allows you to avoid unnecessary tax and save more for your loved ones.

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