Estate Tax Returns

Estate Tax Assistance

Understanding the complex federal and state estate taxes

Providing for the division of your estate upon death can be a difficult and stressful process. In addition to creating a will, you will want to appoint a personal representative of your estate, someone who will oversee the orderly distribution of your estate in accordance with your wishes.

One of the most important arrangements that must be made is the payment of both federal and Massachusetts estate taxes. Unfortunately, the federal estate tax laws are complex and can be extremely confusing to the lay person. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can protect your interests.

At the Baker Law Group, P.C., our estate attorneys provide the following assistance with estate taxes.

  • Determine the correct value of the estate assets
  • Identify and apply asset exemptions and deductions
  • Prepare and file federal returns
  • Prepare and file Massachusetts state returns
  • Advocate for the estate with revenue authorities should any dispute arise

Additionally, we can effectively answer all your federal estate tax issues or questions and guide you through the process.

Senior man and woman in their home reviewing estate planning documents at a table

What Is The Federal Estate Tax?

The federal estate tax is a tax placed on your ability to transfer property following your death. Any tax due must be paid before assets can be transferred. The tax assessed will be calculated based upon the fair market value of all assets in your estate, subject to any exemptions or deductions permitted by law.

What Is Considered Part of My Gross Estate?

Assets that are considered part of your gross estate include:

  • Cash
  • Securities
  • Real estate
  • Annuities
  • Business interests
  • Insurance policies
  • Trusts
  • Other tangible assets

Deductions Granted for a Taxable Estate

When attempting to account for all of the assets and interests that make up your gross estate, certain deductions, and even reductions in value, can be taken under federal tax law. These deductions can reduce the total value of the subject to the federal tax. Permissible deductions may include:

      • Property that passes to a surviving spouse upon death of the decedent
      • Expenses for estate administration
      • Mortgages and other debts
      • Contributions to qualified charities

Before your federal estate tax can be calculated, you must add back the value of any taxable lifetime gifts. Under the law, if the combined assets of the estate and the prior taxable gifts fall below a designated threshold, a federal estate tax return does not need to be filed. That amount, known as the “exemption equivalency,” is:

      • $5,250,000 for those who died in 2013;
      • $5,340,000 for those who died in 2014;
      • $5,430,000 for those who died in 2015;
      • $5,450,000 for those who died in 2016;
      • $5,490,000 for those who died in 2017;
      • $11,180,000 for those who died in 2018;
      • $11,400,000 for those who died in 2019; and
      • $11,580,000 for those who died in 2020.

When you hire us to help you with a federal estate tax issue, we will carefully gather all information to determine both the gross value of the estate, as well as any prior taxable lifetime gifts. We will prepare and file the federal estate tax return for you, and will be your advocate with revenue authorities, should any dispute arise. We will carefully review the estate to determine the correct value of assets, as well as the applicable deductions and exemptions.

Contact Us

Complete our online form to Schedule a Free Consultation or call Baker Law Group at 781-996-5656 or 800-701-0352 to set up a confidential meeting. Consultations are available by phone or at one of our offices in Hingham, Plymouth, Brockton, and Holliston.