I would like to share a few local Washington state news articles related to estate planning and death taxes. I have talked about the current estate tax system for both Washington State Estate Taxes as well as the IRS imposed federal Estate Taxes in previous posts, but in summary, the current exemptions are $5 million per person at the federal level and $2 million per person at the Washington state level, however the federal exemption is set to revert back to $1 million per person at the end of 2012. The uncertainty surrounding what congress will eventually settle on (the estate tax exemptions and rates at the federal level have changed multiple times in the last few years already) increases complexity and uncertainty into the estate planning process. both of these articles underscore the need to have a flexible estate plan, particularly if your assets (including life insurance) are close to or greater than the state exemption amount of $2 million.
The first article, “Estate planning a thing of the past? Think again” is from the Auburn Reporter and can be found here: http://www.auburn-reporter.com/business/134794923.html. The article discusses the current estate tax system and the problem with the uncertainty of what the tax system will look like in the immediate future.
The second article, “McDermott tries again to rewrite estate tax” is from the Seattle Times and can be found here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016927967_estatetax04m.html. This article discusses the possibility that congress may actually lower the exemption amount from 2012 on. The article also discusses the Washington state estate tax.