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Updated: October 16, 2023 Know How

How Mass. tax relief impacts your estate plans

On Sept. 26, Massachusetts legislators introduced a comprehensive tax relief package worth $1 billion. Gov. Maura Healey signed this legislation into law on Oct. 4.

Matthew Erskine is managing partner for Worcester law firm Erskine & Erskine. Reach him at (508) 753-7100.

The bill encompasses a range of tax proposals aimed at providing relief to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state. Notably, it has a significant impact on existing estate plans, particularly concerning the estate tax. Let’s delve into the details of the tax relief bill and its implications for estate planning in Massachusetts.

Key highlights of the tax relief bill

The $1-billion tax relief bill includes several provisions impacting estate planning in Massachusetts. The most noteworthy changes are:

1. Increased estate tax threshold. The bill raises the threshold at which the estate tax applies from $1 million to $2 million. Consequently, estates valued at less than $2 million will not be subject to the estate tax.

2. Uniform estate tax credit. The bill introduces a uniform estate tax credit of $99,600, effectively doubling the threshold at which the estate tax levy applies from $1 million to $2 million. This credit aims to mitigate the impact on estates just above the threshold, eliminating the so-called cliff effect.

Implications for existing estate plans

The $1-billion tax relief bill will significantly impact existing estate plans in Massachusetts. Consider the following key points:

1. Tax benefits for heirs. With the increased estate tax threshold and the introduction of the uniform estate tax credit, more estates will be exempt from the estate tax. This translates to potential tax savings for heirs. If your estate is valued above the proposed $2-million threshold, you can expect savings of approximately $99,600 due to the uniform credit.

2. Reevaluation of estate planning strategies: The changes in estate tax laws necessitate a reevaluation of existing estate plans. If your estate was previously subject to the estate tax but now falls below the new threshold, you may need to update your plan to align with the current tax landscape.

3. Consideration of other tax implications: While the tax relief bill primarily focuses on the estate tax, it is crucial to consider its broader impact on overall tax planning. Consult a trusted estate planning attorney or tax professional to understand how these changes may affect your specific situation.

The $1-billion tax relief bill introduces significant changes to the estate tax, including an increased threshold of $2 million, and the introduction of a uniform estate tax credit. These changes will have a substantial impact on existing estate plans, potentially resulting in tax savings for heirs and necessitating a reevaluation of estate planning strategies. As always, consult a qualified professional to ensure your estate plan aligns with the current tax laws and your specific financial goals.

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