2011: Estate Planning in Washington State – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The great news: Beneficial Changes to Government Law for 2011 and 2012

After months of negotiations following the joint of the Federal property tax in 2010, The legislature finally got around to enacting new estate duty rules at the end of last year. Upon December 17, 2010, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 was enacted which drastically increased the number of locations exempt from Federal property and surprise taxes. Especially, this features were included in the new legislation regarding estate and gift idea taxes: sanjoseelderlaw.com

– The total amount exempt from estate tax was increased to $5 mil (from $3. 5 , 000, 000 in 2009) for many who pass away in 2011 and 2012. 
– The lifetime gift idea tax exemption was increased from $1 million to $5 million and “unified” to the full level with the estate permission – meaning a person can make a mixed total of lifetime products and bequests at their death of $5 , 000, 000 or less and avoid paying any Federal taxation. The federal generation-skipping copy tax exemption was likewise increased to $5 mil (from $3. 5 mil in 2009)
– The maximum estate tax rate was reduced to 35% (from 45% in 2009).
– The new regulation also introduced the principle of “portability” into a married couples’ estate taxes exemptions – “portability” allows the surviving spouse to utilize any unused percentage of the $5 million permission from the estate with their spouse who passes away this year or 2012.

The Bad News: No Direction For 2013 and Over and above

For whatever reason, The legislature chosen to sunset the new rules at the end of 2012 that will bring about estate, gift idea and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions all reverting to $1, 1000, 000 starting in 2013. The ongoing future of spousal exemption “portability” also remains unknown. On top of that, the very best tax rate will increase from 35% to 55%. While we can hope that Congress will at least extend these provisions, it is impossible to tell the particular politics landscape will look like this year and 2013 when Congress will once again decide the particular Federal property and surprise tax plan will be. Therefore, it is imperative that current Estate Plans have built/in overall flexibility regarding disclaimer and trust provisions to allow beneficiaries to take full good thing about whatever the duty laws may be in the future.

The Unattractive: Washington State Estate Taxation Remain Unchanged

Whilst it may seem to be like all of the changes now exempt practically all locations from estate and gift idea taxes (at least until 2013), Washington State has its own estate duty on estates valued over $2 million which is unaffected by the changes at the federal level. Furthermore, the “portability” accessibility of the Federal house tax would not apply for Washington State estate duty purposes. While direct exchanges to a surviving other half are completely not affected by both Federal and state house taxes at the loss of life of the first other half (the amount of products to a surviving other half are deducted from the gross estate of the deceased), this deduction only defers Washington State duty on the estate until the death of the surviving spouse. Simply put, because of this the combined property of the Washington State few will be subject to Washington estate taxes to the extent it is worth more than $2 million after the fatality of the second partner, unless appropriate tax planning measures are including in the Estate Plan. Furthermore, because the taxable property includes both probate and non-probate assets (including insurance coverage and retirement accounts) it is clear that many should consider state taxation when discussing their House Plan.

It will be possible that the Washington legislature may sanction changes to our real estate tax laws, but once whatever it is more likely they may raise, not lower, the tax given previous background the current economical situation of the state budget. In fact, at the begining of 2010 a bill was brought to double the current California State estate tax rates to 20% to 38%.

I am unable to stress how important it is to discuss express tax implications on your estate
with your legal professional when reviewing your House Plan.


I’ve well prepared the following hypotheticals to illustrate the value of an Estate Plan incorporating specific provisions regarding Washington Point out taxes. My hypotheticals suppose the subsequent:
– All condition and federal exemptions and tax rates stay.
– All of the lovers have simple wills providing the complete estate outright to the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse bequests their estate to their children.
– All property is owned as community property.

1 ) A moderately wealthy retired few surviving in Washington State have the following assets:

you ) Primary residence (worth $800, 000; mortgage of $300, 000) $500, 1000
installment payments on your Vacation/rental property (worth $400, 000, mortgage $200, 000) $200, 000
3. Standard bank accounts/CD’s/Money markets $200, 1000
4. Stocks/Bonds/Investments $250, 1000
5. IRA’s/401k/Retirement Accounts $600, 000
6. Life insurance death benefits (for husband) $600, 000
7. Cars/Boats/RV $100, 000
8. Misc. Personal items (art, charms, clothes, and so out ) $50, 000
Total $2, 500, 000