Minimizing Taxes During Probate in Massachusetts

At Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., we have a longstanding commitment to serving clients across Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod with top-notch estate planning services. One of the crucial services we offer is asset protection, which involves strategic planning to minimize taxes both during your lifetime and after you pass away.

Our knowledgeable attorneys know that in addition to planning for a comfortable retirement and preparing for unexpected contingencies, you also want to preserve the estate you leave behind for your loved ones. Our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of taxation and have several well-honed strategies to help reduce the tax liabilities for your heirs during the probate process. When you consult with us, we will delve into the specifics of taxation for your particular estate, and guide those appointed as personal representatives in managing tax responsibilities effectively.

State and Federal Estate Taxes in Massachusetts

Understanding both state and federal estate taxes is fundamental in managing your estate’s financial obligations during probate. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the threshold for estate taxes became $2 million. This tax is calculated on the entire estate value, not just the amount over the threshold. The personal representative managing an estate is responsible for filing the Massachusetts Estate Tax Return and paying any taxes owed. The threshold for federal estate tax is considerably higher that the Massachusetts estate tax, currently $13.6 million. 

It is important to know that the estate can also be liable for income tax it generates during probate through interests, dividends, etc. The personal representative is responsible for filing tax returns for the estate and paying any income taxes the estate owes.

Strategies to Minimize Taxes During Probate in Massachusetts

Reducing your estate’s tax liability during probate can significantly benefit your heirs. Below are some of the effective strategies our estate planning attorneys recommend:

Transferring Assets to a Spouse

Using the unlimited marital deduction allows you to pass assets to your spouse tax-free, which can substantially reduce your estate’s tax burden.

Donating to Charity

Because assets bequeathed to qualified charitable organizations are not subject to estate taxes, donating to recognized charities can lower the total taxable value of 

your estate.

Gifting

The gift tax is a federal tax on transfers of money or property to other people. Two factors determine how much you can give away before owing taxes on the gifted amount: the annual gift tax limit and the lifetime gift tax limit. The former is now $18,000 per individual ($36,000 per couple) and the latter is now $13.61 million.

Making These Strategies Feasible in Massachusetts

Implementing these tax-minimizing strategies effectively requires meticulous record-keeping of all transactions, charitable donations, and gifts, as well as adherence to deadlines. Having accurate records provides necessary documentation during probate and ensures compliance with tax laws. Adhering to deadlines avoids penalties and increased tax liabilities. 

Services Our Team Provides To Help You Minimize Taxes During Probate

Due to the intricacies of federal and state tax laws, it is essential to have a sure-footed estate planning attorney at your side when navigating this rocky slope. The lawyers of Surprenant & Beneski are adept and capable when it comes to:

  • Comprehensive tax planning to utilize tax credits, deductions, and exemptions efficiently.
  • Legal guidance and representation in tasks from drafting wills to executing tax strategies to representing your estate in probate court.
  • Assistance with filings to ensure all necessary tax forms and probate documents are completed carefully and submitted on time.

Partner with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. to Protect Your Legacy

Tax considerations are a pivotal aspect of estate planning and probate processes. By partnering with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., you will have access to experienced attorneys who will work diligently to minimize taxes and maximize the assets passed on to your heirs. Contact us today so we can make certain that your legacy is preserved according to your wishes and make the most of your estate for those you leave behind.