Chances are most people will never have to worry about paying a federal estate tax, since the value of most people’s estates don’t exceed $5.34 million. However, if president Trump has his way, not even the very few taxpayers that would have otherwise been affected by this law, will have to worry about it either.
Some of the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers, the roughly 5,000 people affected by the federal estate tax are excited to hear of Trump’s plan to eliminate this tax completely. In addition, several attorneys who represent this group of taxpayers are waiting to see what happens. That’s because with change comes many dominos, like filing new paperwork and other documents to make those changes legal and binding.
Other attorneys who represent wealthy clients expect to see other taxes on the wealthy even if the estate tax is repealed. As one attorney noted, “there will always be taxes on high-net worth individuals.” Plus, even if the estate tax is repealed, the wealthy could still get hit by high taxes upon death in other ways, such as paying capital gains tax on appreciated property.
Meantime, Trump has not stated how his plan would or would not affect the gift tax, which also plays an important role in estate planning. In any case, if the estate tax is repealed, the Tax Foundation estimates that it would cost the government about $240 billion over the next decade. It might still be too soon to know the exact effects of eliminating the estate tax, but those changes could be coming soon.