Good Place to Die?

Often when a physician chooses a retirement destination, they consider the climate, community, and perhaps even property taxes. Rarely do estate planning concerns come into play. With the 2001 Tax Relief Act, federal estate taxes were eased significantly. The law, however, also reduced tax revenue from flowing into states, a matter that some states have taken into their own hands. Before, when estate tax laws were more unified, moving your residency and estate from one state to another would hold no advantage. This isn't the case anymore. In New York, for example, you can face a combined federal and state estate tax rate of 60%. Several states, such as New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin, have reduced the estate amount on which a resident can be taxed to as little as $675,000. This amount is in the range of the average physician's estate. But don't pack your bags yet, doctor. Estate planners advise that there is no guarantee that a state's estate tax laws will remain unchanged. Tip: Some advisors believe that if you are choosing a state based on estate tax concerns, states such as Florida, California, and Nevada are your best bets because they appear to have constitutional prohibitions against breaking from the federal laws and establishing their own estate tax requirements.

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