State taxation on inheritance should prompt financial planning

Wills make enough sense to people with families or causes they want to support beyond their own lives. These important legal documents direct authorities on how a person's assets and resources are divided after death, as well as save time and effort in probate court with potential disputes between inheritors.

Estate taxation has become an issue for fewer people after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which doubled many exemptions to federal taxation. This left estate planners working with larger values to contend only with state laws and requirements.

Pennsylvania's estate tax applies to relatively small estates, and bequests to people beyond family members can prove expensively taxed. This has encouraged many people to leave the Keystone State and settle somewhere with fewer restrictions on wills to spend their retirement and create their estate plans.

Trusts can help reduce the value of an actual estate by effectively transferring the ownership of assets to their intended inheritors before the writer of a will passes away. Many of these trusts are revocable during a person's lifetime, so he or she still exercises some control over the arrangement. Although penalties may be applied to some types of changes, they can be made.

Trusts are a good and thoughtful way to retain the value earned over a lifetime for a new generation. They can also support organizations that support beloved causes with important resources to continue their missions. An attorney is an excellent aide for the process of making the right choices for estate plans and preparing them for official filing.

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