Facts You May Not Have Known About Estate Taxes

Thinking about passing on your estate to your children or grandchildren? 

You best cross your “t”s and dot your “i”s.

If you are thinking about passing on your estate, you have probably heard rumors about taxes. But what do they mean for you and your family? 

Here, we will dive into 5 fascinating facts about estate taxes so you have a better idea of what to expect. 

South Carolina Is an Ideal State to Pass Away In

Estate taxes vary from state to state. Some states enforce estate taxes, although the amounts change. Others do not enforce them at all. 

South Carolina is one of the states that does not impose either estate or inheritance taxes. Prior to 2005, the state had a “sponge tax” which took a portion of estate taxes given to the federal government. 

Now, however, the state does not impose any “death” tax. 

Other citizens are not so lucky and must pay careful attention to tax laws. Regardless of how carefully individuals have drawn up a will, inheritors may face stiff taxes depending upon location. 

Estate Taxes Do Not Apply to Most Americans

Put your fears to bed: the estate tax does not affect most Americans. In fact, you must be in the wealthiest tier of citizens to experience the tax. 

Prior to 2017, only 2 in 1,000 estates faced a tax. That number fell to 1 in 1,000 after exemptions doubled.

More than likely, the estate tax will not affect you or your family. Of course, that does not mean you should not partake in estate planning

Many Families Might Be Shocked in 2025

In 2025, exemption rates will drop to half what they are now, affecting estates worth approximately $5.5 million per individual.

Because the rates increased recently, many families assume the tax will not ever apply to them. The change may come as a nasty shock to many. 

This, again, is why estate planning is so important. Changes in tax laws mean individuals should update wills regularly, otherwise they may find themselves in a similar situation as actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s family

Hoffman left his estate to his only child at the time he drafted his will but failed to update it after tax laws changed and he had additional children. Consequently, his wife and remaining children suffered. 

Other Countries Tax More

America has an estate tax rate at 40%. Does that sound steep? Not compared to some other countries. 

Japan has the highest rate of all at 55%. South Korea follows with 50% and France comes in third with 45%. 

America falls fourth in line when determining which countries have the highest estate taxes.

It Is Nothing New

The estate tax has existed for centuries. In fact, it was common during the medieval era. 

During this period, kings demanded payment in the forms of “reliefs” from heirs who received property. It was from this notion that many European countries created the idea of inheritance and estate taxes. 

Protect Your Family’s Future

Estate taxes may not concern you. However, it is important to understand the changing laws regarding wills, property and more so that your family is secure. 

Changes in your personal life as well as in the government may have unforeseen results, which is why our professionals are available to help. We will ensure your family is protected from these changes, and we will work to create an estate plan that reflects your legacy. 

Call us today to discuss strategies and to secure your family’s future.  

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4 Reasons Why Choosing Beneficiaries is a Good Thing

Having a family is one of life’s greatest joys. There is so much to look forward to — graduation, marriage, grandkids. Of course, these things require a lot of financial planning like 529 savings plans for college, or trust funds.

One thing we hate to think about, however, is how to plan for our loved ones’ financial well-being when we pass on. One of the ways you can make sure that your loved ones are taken care of is to set up beneficiaries for things such as life insurance and your estate.

Want to learn more about choosing beneficiaries? We have got you covered. Read on to learn about the reasons for selecting beneficiaries!

It Gives You More Control

You have control over your financial assets now, why would you not want control over their distribution when you pass on? 

If you pass without having a will or beneficiaries set up, then it is ultimately up to your next of kin to decide how to divide up your assets. In the event that there is a dispute over who should get what, then it will be up to a judge to make that decision.

Choosing beneficiaries now ensures that you are in complete control of your assets.

Choosing Beneficiaries Makes Distribution of Assets Less Stressful

We want to think that our family will be able to divide up assets in a civil manner. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The stress of the loss of a family member and dividing up their assets can do a lot of damage to relationships.

By pre-planning who gets what, your loved ones can avoid the stress and hurt feelings of dividing up your assets. 

Your Beneficiaries Can Avoid a Lengthy Probate Process

Probate is a notoriously long process by which the executor or administrator of the estate manages the assets of the estate to make sure that all assets are collected, debts are paid, and all property is distributed. Probate is more complicated when there is not a will, or an existing will needs verification.

Not all property must go through probate. Most states will allow a certain amount of your estate to get passed on to your loved ones without going through probate first. Life insurance policy payouts can bypass the probate process entirely so long as there are designated beneficiaries.

Peace of Mind

If nothing else, setting up beneficiaries will give you the peace of mind that you have done everything that you can to make sure your loved ones will continue to prosper, even if you pass.

Estate planning may not be a fun thing to think about, but it is still incredibly important if you want your loved ones to enjoy financial stability after you pass on. When it comes to estate planning, it is never too soon to get started.

Ready to Set Up Your Beneficiaries?

Choosing beneficiaries for your estate and insurance is an incredibly important step in planning for your family after you pass on. Not only does it give you control of who gets what portion of your policies and estate, but it also prevents tension among family members.

Ready to start planning for your family and loved ones after you pass on? We can help guide you through the process. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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