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Tax law changes could affect charitable giving

For Nevada residents who are concerned about the future of their estate and who want to include charitable giving as part of their plans for their assets, recent changes in federal estate and gift tax laws might alter the way that they include philanthropy as part of the process. Up until 2017, people could leave bequests of up to $5.49 million before their heirs would have to deal with federal estate or gift taxes.

As of 2018, after the passage of the new tax bill in late 2017, the exemption level has been doubled to $11.18 million per person. Of course, most people's estates are nowhere near the federal estate tax limits, as 99.6 percent of Americans were not subject to estate taxes even before the additional upward adjustment. State taxes on estate bequests can also be a concern, but 65 percent of people live in states without these taxes.

A lack of estate taxes on charitable bequests could have encouraged some giving in previous years. However, changing tax laws mean that even people with high-value estates often have little concern about the impact of estate taxes on their beneficiaries. Despite the change, many wealthy people are planning to keep up their charitable giving as part of will planning. Because their heirs, including their children, will receive more due to the greater exemption, their gift to charity can, in some cases, be even greater.

The will planning process can be complex and it can be important to keep tax law changes in mind when putting together an estate plan for the future. An estate planning lawyer can help a person or couple to draw up important documents like wills, trusts and financial powers of attorney and ensure that existing documents reflect current priorities and legal changes.

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