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Nevada estate planning may include gifting to limit taxes

Many in Nevada may recall that Wal-Mart, the large discount retail chain, was founded by Sam Walton. Our readers, however, may not be aware that when Walton died, his heirs paid no estate tax. This was accomplished using estate planning tools, which subsequently left his wife and five children the richest people in our country at the time.

The Walton family benefited from the use of gifting by Walton. In contrast, famed singer Elvis left his heirs $10 million at the time of his death, but because he did not use estate planning tools to his best advantage prior to his death, the family saw little of it. Presley's family reportedly paid more than 70 percent of his estate value in taxes and fees. These numbers may be higher than would exist today, as the laws were different in 1977, the year of Elvis's death.

Estate planning may help Nevada residents protect their heirs from exorbitant taxes just as it did for the Walton family. This is true even if the person planning the estate does not have a large, high-value estate such as Wal-Mart. In fact, individuals or families with estates as little as $1 million for individuals or $2 million for couples may benefit from the use of gifting measures to protect their assets in estate planning.

To achieve the estate planning success that the Wal-Mart heirs enjoyed, a person may wish to consider gifting much of their estate to heirs. To maintain control of the asset, the estate planning person may wish to use both a special irrevocable trust and a holding company. As in the case of all estate planning, there may be tools that better apply to an individual's situation. Every family is different, which means that estate planning may be most successful when the individual dynamics are considered. To determine what options are best, Nevada families may find it helpful to seek advice from those experienced in estate planning.

Source: Deseret News, "Gifting, estate planning can help avoid transfer taxes on inheritances," Rich Bloomfield, Aug. 14, 2012

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