If you've just moved to Massachusetts or did so in the last few years, you should know we do things in estate planning a bit differently. If you have a 'Living Will' you should know that this type of document is not an officially recognized document in Massachusetts.
Estate taxes in Massachusetts
Just a few years ago, most States had an estate tax. Now, less than 1/2 of states have such a tax. Massachusetts is one of the states that still have an estate tax.
MA estate tax law provides an exemption for estates that are under $1 million in total assets at death. This law also gives you a deduction from your gross estate for assets you leave to your spouse. So you don't pay estate tax on the deducted amount.
So, for many estates, MA estate taxes are not a problem because the estate size is under the exemption. Or, because the deceased left a spouse and left the bulk of assets to that spouse.
Keep in mind that your Massachusetts estate likely contains many different types of assets.
Your estate likely has assets in your sole name, but ALSO retirement accounts, 1/2 of joint assets, life insurance you control at death, and many other types of assets are part of your taxable estate.
If you're married and have moved to Massachusetts
If you're married and have over $1 million as a couple, Massachusetts estate planning likely should include a MA revocable living trust among the other estate planning documents.
This living trust can include a provision to lower the estate taxes due when your surviving spouse dies, assumedly without a surviving spouse. And therefore no marital deduction.
RETURN to Estate Planning page
If you have estate planning questions or concerns, or would like to get started creating your estate plan, contact the experienced Lexington, Massachusetts estate planning attorneys at MA Wills and Trusts at 781 863-8606 to schedule your consultation. Or contact us at Contact