How to avoid paying estate taxes

Estate & Tax Attorney, Stefanie Lipson, shares advice on how to avoid paying the maximum for the federal and state estate taxes
How To Avoid Paying Estate Taxes - Estate Planning Advice
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How to avoid paying estate taxes

So there is a federal estate tax, sometimes called a death tax, imposed when anybody passes away and assets are passed to their beneficiaries. That is generally only imposed once you’ve exceeded a certain amount for your estate. So for example, in 2011 as the law currently stands, somebody can pass away with up to 5 million dollars of assets and there will be no estate tax imposed when they pass away. In 2012 as the law stands, it will increase slightly to 5.12 million, but then in 2013, it would return to a million dollars. Once you’ve exceeded that amount, which is the estate tax credit amount, the exemption, you pay estate tax at a rate of anywhere from 35% to 55% to the federal government. And that tax is taxed, in essence, to your beneficiaries. It comes out of the property that they are receiving, so ultimately, they end up receiving less. In addition to that it’s possible that you live in a state where there is an additional state estate tax or a state inheritance tax. Certain states, for example like California, don’t impose estate tax, also Florida. But other states like New York and New Jersey do and so on top of the federal tax there would be potentially an additional state tax.

Estate & Tax Attorney, Stefanie Lipson, shares advice on how to avoid paying the maximum for the federal and state estate taxes


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Stefanie Lipson

Estate & Tax Attorney

Stefanie J. Lipson is an attorney in the Family Wealth Planning Group of Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, & Machtinger, LLP.  Stefanie’s practice focuses on comprehensive estate planning for high net worth individuals, family business succession planning, probate and trust administration and the law of tax exempt organizations.  Stefanie counsels her clients with a holistic approach to wealth transfer solutions, structuring plans to meet a family’s individual needs while addressing the complex estate, gift and income tax implications of wealth transfer.  In addition, consistent with Stefanie’s belief that the most effective estate planning begins early, Stefanie has developed an estate planning program designed specifically to meet the planning needs of young families as they encounter common life events. 

Stefanie’s unique approach and application of Trust and Estate law has been well acknowledged by the legal community.  She served as a panelist at the 2010 Southern California Tax and Estate Planning Forum in a discussion involving multijurisdictional issues in estate planning and has authored publications for The Los Angeles Daily Journal and The Recorder.  Stefanie has been listed in Southern California Rising Stars each year since 2009.

Stefanie received her Bachelor of Arts in 2003 from University of California Los Angeles, graduating magna cum laude with the distinction of departmental honors and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Stefanie received her J.D. from the University of Southern California Law Center in 2006.  Following her graduation from USC, Stefanie clerked for the Honorable Fred Keiser, Jr. in the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Law Division.  During her time with the court, Stefanie also served as a court appointed mediator for small claims civil matters. 

In furtherance of her estate planning work, Stefanie is currently pursuing a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law.  Stefanie’s studies at NYU focus on estate, gift and income tax matters relating to wealth succession planning and family business ownership.

Stefanie lives in Los Angeles, with her husband Marc and their new son Noah, whom she regards as her greatest achievement.

Guardianship, Wills and Trusts
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