Experienced Pittsburgh Wills, Estates, Probate, and Trusts Lawyers
Lebovitz & Lebovitz, P.A. provides experienced counseling in the conserving and protecting of your substantial assets allowing for the orderly transfer. Schedule an appointment to discuss our estate planning services, whether for the preparation of wills and trusts or a broader-based asset transfer plan such as business succession planning, generation-skipping transfer tax planning, and/or the implementation of lifetime gift programs and intrafamily sales. Our extensive experience will allow us to individually customize planning and creative solutions to your trust and estate issues. Plans require review over time as there are always changing state and federal laws that require the implementation of new methods to optimize results. In planning for the future, we will also the discuss the use of a power of attorney for the handling of assets during any incapacity as well living wills and/or limited durable health care powers of attorney.
For 2018, the estate and gift tax exemption is now $5.6 million per individual. The annual gift exclusion amount is $15,000 for 2018—up from $14,000 where has been since 2013. For a married couple, $11.2 million can be transferred without federal inheritance tax. However, planning is necessary and may require the “portability” election on the passing of the first spouse. Previously in 2017, the estate and gift tax exemption was $5.49 million per individual, up from $5.45 million in 2016. That means an individual can leave $5.6 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax. A married couple will be able to exempt $11.2 million dollars from federal estate and gift taxes. This is accomplished through the use of Credit Shelter Trusts, the A/B Trust or the A/B/Qtip Trusts, and/or “portability” of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples. This planning is vital to lower or eliminate federal estate tax which would currently tax 40% of non-excluded amounts. The annual gift exclusion remains at $15,000 for 2017. Annual gifts made below this sum would not count towards the exemption amount.
The Pennsylvania inheritance current rates are as follows:
0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or a parent from a child aged 21 or younger;
4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs;
12 percent on transfers to siblings; and 15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax.
Planning can also alleviate the need for Guardianship actions, which may be required when elderly individuals become incapacitated and incapable of taking care of themselves, requiring the court to have to appoint a guardian of the person and/or estate of that individual. The Guardian then would be responsible for making personal, medical and financial decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual. This authority may be limited and must be in the best interests of the incapacitated individual and must be done in conjunction with any other power of attorney and/or living will. Proper planning today with a periodic review as circumstances change will minimize the consequences of future uncertainty.
In Pennsylvania, an estate requires the preparation of an inheritance return within nine months of the date of death, and a discount in the tax is available if completed within three months. It is important to act promptly and diligently even in a difficult time. We will assist the administrator, executor and beneficiaries in their acting as fiduciaries and in connection with the administration of estates and trusts, including probate matters, the preparation of Federal and Pennsylvania estate tax returns and even post-mortem income tax planning. We have handled various federal and state audit related issues.
When necessary, we handle disputes/contests and other fiduciary litigation and/or issues relating to Guardianships or matters relating to the elderly or incapacitated.
When you are seeking Wills, Estate, Probate or Trust advice or planning, Lebovitz & Lebovitz, P.A. will skillfully and expertly counsel you through the entire process.