Taxation of Estates: Changes are coming

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Last year, the federal government announced that changes would be coming with respect to testamentary trusts, these new changes come into effect January 1st, 2016.  The new changes include:

  • No Graduated Tax Rates Available for Testamentary Trusts
  • All income earned and kept by a Testamentary Trust will be subject to tax at the top flat rate. (rate equal to federal personal tax rate of 29%)
  • Exceptions to the rules: Graduated Rate Estate and Qualified Disability Trust

What’s a Graduated Rate Estate and why 36 months?

Graduated Rate Estate occurs as a result of death and can exist for 36 months following death.  During the 36 months, the estate is eligible for the “old graduated rates”, after the 36 months the estate becomes subject to the top flat tax rate.

36 months is considered a reasonable amount of time by the federal government because most estates are typically wound up in this time.

What does this mean?

  • Increased income tax consequences
  • In some cases, tax liability shifts from the trust to the deceased beneficiary.
  • Existing plans will need to be reviewed

With the changes coming in 2016, it’s time to review how you would like to leave your legacy to the next generation, your favorite charity or beneficiaries. By getting your financial affairs in order, you can make important decisions about yourself, your family and any wishes you wish to be fulfilled.

We can help with this.

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