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4 ways to minimize estate taxes

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning is an effective tool to safeguard your hard-earned assets and ensure a seamless transfer to your heirs.

In New Jersey, a state with its own estate tax system, it is important to explore strategies that can help minimize estate taxes.

1. Gifting strategy

One effective method to reduce estate taxes is through strategic gifting. By distributing your assets during your lifetime, you can lower the taxable value of your estate. In New Jersey, gifts made more than three years before your death get excluded from your taxable estate.

2. Create a trust

Establishing irrevocable trusts can be a valuable tool to minimize estate taxes. Assets placed in such trusts are no longer part of your estate. Consequently, they are not subject to the state’s estate tax. You can tailor various trust options, such as the Grantor Retained Annuity Trust or Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, to your specific needs.

3. Explore the marital deduction

The unlimited marital deduction is a powerful estate planning tool available in New Jersey. When you leave your assets to your spouse, they are not subject to estate tax. This approach allows you to delay taxes and create a legacy for your spouse and, potentially, your heirs while deferring estate taxes until later.

4. Consider life insurance and retirement accounts

Life insurance policies held in an irrevocable life insurance trust can ensure that the benefits pass to beneficiaries tax-free. Additionally, careful planning concerning retirement accounts, like IRAs or 401(k)s, can help minimize the estate tax impact. Naming beneficiaries properly and considering the timing of distributions from these accounts are important strategies for reducing estate tax liabilities.

As one of the six states with an inheritance tax, which is the highest in New Jersey and Kentucky at 16.%, estate planning offers various avenues to minimize taxes while maximizing your wealth for your loved ones.