You've probably heard politicians talk about death taxes. Some say they destroy family businesses, while others insist they only affect the super rich. For most Americans the truth is somewhere in between, but in Oregon we have one of the toughest estate tax systems in the nation. Families who wouldn't consider themselves wealthy can easily wander into unexpected tax bills from the state of Oregon after a loved one passes away. Not only does this chip away at the wealth you've worked so hard to earn, but it also creates legal and administrative hassles for the ones you leave behind.
Most people who end up paying Oregon state taxes had no idea that they were at risk. As if that weren't bad enough, many people could have reduced or completely avoided paying these taxes through proper estate planning. The right estate planning tools can allow many families to protect more of their wealth from this risk. The savings can easily reach into many thousands of dollars, far more than the modest cost of estate planning services from a licensed attorney. For this reason, it's very important to see a lawyer about planning your estate well before the plan needs to be used.
Maybe you already have an estate plan, and maybe you think you're already protected from the risk of estate tax. But things are changing in our tax system, and if big changes come it may render your current plan obsolete or even dangerously defective. Remember: it is never too early to address risks or gaps in your estate plan, but it could be too late.