The Internal Revenue Service announced October 30th, 2014, that the 2015 estate-tax exemption will rise to $5.43 million per individual from $5.34 million this year, due to an inflation adjustment. Married couples can get the benefit of two individual exemptions, so the total exemption per couple will be nearly $11 million. Only about 3,700 estates, or 0.12% of the total, are expected to owe federal estate tax this year. The top estate tax rate on amounts above the exemption is 40%.
As a result, the federal estate tax is no longer the biggest concern for most affluent Americans who want to avoid taxes on wealth they leave to heirs—as it was for many years. The estate-planning focus has shifted to minimizing capital-gains taxes (which may not be of a major concern if assets are held in trust at time of selling them.)
Make an appointment with your trusted estate planner to take appropriate action to help protect your current and future assets.