One way to reduce the value of your total New York estate is to form a life insurance or Crummey trust. A New York probate and estate attorney can prepare the trust for you. How the trust works is you transfer your life insurance policy to the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries. You can also take advantage under the federal gift tax exemption law of gifting up to $14,000 annually for 2013 to your trust tax free for payment of your annual life insurance premiums. The trustee of your trust must also advise your beneficiaries that they can take out of the trust up to $14,000 annually tax free because the money qualifies as a tax free gift to them.
The primary advantages of forming a life insurance trust is after you pass away the life insurance proceeds are transferred to your beneficiaries tax free, and your estate saves estate taxes because the amount of the policy is not added to the value of your estate. So for 2013, estates valued at $5,250,000 are exempt from estate taxes.
New York estate and tax matters are complicated and usually require the advice of a New York probate and estate attorney. A New York probate and estate attorney can prepare the life insurance/”Crummy trust” for you and other estate planning documents including a will, health care proxy, living will, power of attorney. If you wish to speak to a New York estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.