In 2020 our federal government will only tax estates over $11,580,000. Prior to 2010 it was taxing estates over $3,500,000. Twenty years ago it was taxing estates over $675,000. If your estate plan was drafted at that time there is a high probability you have a “Unified Credit Equivalent Trust.”
This is where you can do yourself that favor. Read over your estate planning documents. If your estate is less than $11,580,000 you should re-think the use of a “Unified Credit Equivalent Trust” in your Will or Revocable Trust. These Trusts can unnecessarily restrict a spouse’s access to these funds during their life and be of no benefit to you or your heirs.
If your estate is less than $11,580,000 and your existing Will or Trust leaves “that amount which you can legally, without incurring federal estate tax” to a trust then your entire estate will go into this trust and nothing will go outright to your spouse or to a more liberal trust. This would cause your spouse to live the remainder of his/her life subject to the restrictions set forth in that “Unified Credit Equivalent Trust”. If the only reason you have this trust is to save taxes, please do your spouse a favor; re-write your will or revocable trust and get rid of that Unified Credit Equivalent Trust.
Believe me when I say this is important to the surviving spouse. Of course I would be happy to discuss this issue, but don’t hesitate! Do yourself this favor.
By: Bob Cooper, Esq