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Boston Estate Tax Lawyer

After someone dies, their estate is transferred to their beneficiaries, which could include a surviving spouse, heirs, and other loved ones. These assets may include money, property, vehicles, life insurance policies, investments, retirement accounts, other personal possessions, and more. Depending on the size of the estate, it may be subject to a federal and state estate tax.

Estate taxes can take away an unfair part of the assets and funds you left for your family. That’s why our attorney Matthew Karr at The Heritage Law Center is here to help. When you’re building your estate plan and want to best prepare for tax laws, seek the help of an experienced estate taxes lawyer serving the Boston area.

What Estate Taxes Do Boston Residents Face?

An estate tax is imposed on an estate before it’s transferred from a deceased person to their beneficiaries. This means property, money, and other assets left to loved ones can be subject to federal or state tax.

The federal estate tax filing threshold is determined by the market value of the decedent’s estate upon death. To see if an estate must be taxed, check the tax rate for the year of the estate holder’s death. For example, for 2024, the federal estate tax only applies to estates valued at or above $13,160,000. Any estate not valued at that figure or greater won’t be taxed federally but may be taxed at the state level.

As of October 4, 2023, the Massachusetts estate tax exemption increased from $1M to $2M for people dying on or after January 1, 2023. When you die, if your estate is valued at $2M or under, your estate pays no estate tax. If it’s valued at one dollar over $2M, your estate is taxed on the amount over the $2M. The Massachusetts estate tax is a progressive rate of 7.2% to 16%. The top bracket applies to taxable estates of $11,000,000 and over.

Think about how the Massachusetts estate tax could greatly impact what you leave your family. Keep in mind that your total estate consists of many types of assets, including equity in real estate, investments, annuities, retirement accounts, vehicles, business interests, life insurance policies, and more. When all is added up and taking into account the potential for these amounts to grow over your lifetime, $1 million may not be that far away.

How to Minimize Estate Taxes in Boston

Many families find themselves surprised to find that they meet this two-million-dollar threshold. The many assets included in these estate taxes push many Boston families over this limit. Property and other valuable assets can add up quickly, and you may need to take action to avoid significant estate taxes.

Many strategies exist to minimize estate taxes, and a qualified estate planning lawyer serving Boston, like Matthew Karr, Esq., can help you plan. There are several options to reduce your risk of being taxed, such as:

  • Charitable Trusts – A charitable trust offers yearly donations and gifts to charities you designate, lowering your taxable estate. You may choose to create a charitable remainder trust, which transfers assets to a trust that generates a potential income stream for you or other beneficiaries you choose. The remainder of the assets is given to charity.
  • Tax-Free Annual Gifting – Each year, you may gift anyone of your choosing up to $18,000 (2024 limit) without having to incur taxes on the amount or report the gift when you file taxes annually. This option allows you to reduce your net estate, which may help Boston residents keep their estate under the taxable threshold.
  • Qualified Personal Residence TrustsThis trust allows you to transfer the title of your home to the trust for your beneficiaries and continue to live in your home for a specified period. The house is often the largest part of someone’s estate, so this route can help avoid estate tax entirely. However, should you pass away during the specified time, it will still be included in the sum of your estate.
  • Credit Shelter Trusts – If one spouse leaves their estate to their surviving spouse, there will be no estate tax liability. However, when the surviving spouse passes, the total value of the remaining assets will be taxed. To avoid this, when the first spouse dies, their assets can pass to a credit shelter trust, which will allow the surviving spouse to receive assets from the trust for their lifetime. It will also shelter up to $1 million in assets from being taxed upon the surviving spouse’s death.

Unsure what your best option for your estate is? A savvy estate taxes lawyer serving Boston, like Matthew Karr, Esq., can guide you through what these options would mean for you and your beneficiaries. As your attorney, he’ll ensure you make an informed choice that benefits you and your loved ones.

While you’re waiting for your free consultation with Matthew, check out our free report on saving on taxes. That gives you a clearer picture of what you need to know and how you can avoid these expenses.

Plan Ahead With an Estate Taxes Lawyer Serving Boston

An experienced attorney like Matthew Karr, Esq., at The Heritage Law Center can help you develop a personalized plan that minimizes your Massachusetts estate taxes, allowing you to leave more to your loved ones. If you’re trying to plan for the future and ensure your loved ones get the funds you worked for, our lawyer can help you choose the best path to reduce taxes that cut into that.

If you’re seeking an estate taxes lawyer who serves the Boston area, Matthew cares about the future of you and your family and he knows how to secure it. When you’re ready to speak with a lawyer, give us a call at 617-299-6976 or fill out our online contact form below for a consultation.