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New York State reduces its estate tax for some, increases it for others

The budget adopted by New York State effective on 1 April 2014 was touted as including reductions in the New York State estate tax designed to keep the wealthiest New Yorkers from leaving New York to avoid estate taxes when they die (for example, moving to Florida). Unfortunately, however, as adopted, it did no such thing.

What New York did adopt was an increased estate tax exemption that, by 2019, is expected to eliminate New York State estate tax for most single people with assets worth, at death, less than approximately $6m (£3.5m) (the exact amount depends upon inflation adjustments), and to do the same for most married couples with assets that do not exceed double that amount, but only if they design, and implement, their estate plans correctly and in advance.

Starting on 1 April 2014, the New York estate tax exemption (in addition to amounts passing to, or to a qualifying trust for, a surviving spouse or a charity) was increased from $1m to $2m. That exemption is to increase by another $1m on each 1 April through 1 April 2017, when it is to reach $5.25m, and is then to increase some more so that starting on 1 January 2019 it matches whatever the federal estate tax exemption then is (which, due to inflation adjustments, we expect will be about $6m)…

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