Hunt & Associates P.C.

The New Year Brings Some Changes to Estate Planning

Tax - 012317With the change of the calendar to a new year, there are some changes in the law which might be of interest to you and even impact your estate plan.  For example:

  • In the State of Washington, the “applicable exclusion amount” has increased from $2,079,000.00 to $2,129,000.00. By statute, the change in the exclusion tax is calculated by reference to the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton metropolitan area October consumer price index (CPI).  So, a Washington resident who dies in 2017 will owe no Washington state estate tax until his/her gross estate exceeds $2,129,000.00.
  • At the federal level, the estate tax exemption amount for individuals increased from $5,450,000.00 to $5,490,000.00. Individuals dying in 2017 can leave up to $5,490,000.00 to their heirs and owe no estate tax to the feds.  The annual individual gift tax exclusion amount remains at $14,000.00.
  • In the State of Oregon, the estate tax exclusion amount for individuals dying in 2017 remains at $1,000,000.00 (the amount is not indexed for inflation).

Although Oregon’s estate tax remains as before, there are some changes in Oregon estate law effective January 1.  Of significant interest is that Oregon has adopted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act effective January 1, 2017.  This Act will allow (or forbid, if that is your choice) the personal representative of your estate to access you email account and other “digital assets” after your death.  For more information on that new Act, see our blog: “Of Death and Digital Assets: Where do You Hide your Treasures?”.

One other change to Oregon estate law: the statutes now use the word “descendants” synonymously with the heretofore used term “issue”.  Evidently, the estate plan gurus who worked on modernizing the Oregon probate code felt the new term is more easily understood.

We think the new year is an apt time to review your own estate plan.  This might be a good time to consider: Is your plan in need of an update?

© 1/23/2017 Charles A. Ford of Hunt & Associates, P.C.  All rights reserved.


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