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Elections bring possibility of new laws for estates

By now, just about everyone in Polk County is probably aware that Donald Trump won the presidential election on November 8. As in prior election years, Florida played a pivotal role in securing the victory for Trump. While this blog takes no position on political candidates and their views, it is interesting to note how the Trump presidency could change the country's laws with regard to estates and inheritances.

Trump himself has a vast estate that includes real estate holdings throughout the world, as well as other types of assets. His older children currently have a substantial part in managing his business affairs, and it seems likely that all of his children will one day inherit his estate.

But putting Trump's personal estate and business dealings aside, during his presidential campaign, he announced some unequivocal positions on his ideas to modify the country's tax system. Among those ideas was Trump's position on abolishing the inheritance tax. Although Florida has no state inheritance tax, the federal government does currently impose a 40 percent tax on estates that are larger than $5.45 million for single people, or $10.9 million for married couples.

No president, including Trump, can unilaterally change the country's tax laws. However, given the upcoming political shifts in the makeup of Congress, Trump may have enough support to enact this kind of legislation. But even if new legislation does ultimately abolish the federal inheritance tax, these kinds of changes do not happen overnight.

People in Winter Haven and Lakeland who have estates that they plan to leave to their heirs should understand the implications that changing laws could have on the value of their estates. An experienced estates and trusts attorney may be able to answer questions about these issues, and help people modify their estate plans accordingly.

Source: TheStreet.com, "Estate Tax Planning in the Trump Presidency," Robert McGarvey, Nov. 19, 2016

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