Ask a trust officer:
Do I still need a trust?
DEAR TRUST OFFICER: †
I understand that the federal estate tax exemption is now $5 million. Thatís well above my wealth level. Do I still need a trust in my will?† óDODGED THE DEATH TAX
Short answer: If you already have provided for trusts in your will, you probably should keep them.† Trusts provide for more than simple tax savings. When managed by a corporate fiduciary, such as us, trusts also come with professional investment management, tax filings and administrative decision-making.† Trusts are fundamentally about protecting an inheritance from a wide variety of corrosive forces, of which death taxes are but one.
Donít overlook the fact that many of the states still impose death taxes of their own, either as inheritance taxes or estate taxes (or both). Many kick in at much lower wealth levels, typically $1 million.† Your estate will be affected if you live in one of those states or own property in one or more of them.
Finally, the new $5 million exemption from the federal estate tax lasts for only two years, 2011 and 2012.† Will it be continued after the next Presidential election? Donít bet your familyís financial security on it.
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