Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL

When to File Federal Estate Tax Returns in Florida

Fort Lauderdale estate tax planning attorney Geoff Levy explains

The federal estate tax is imposed on the transfer of a deceased person's estate to their heirs. Not many people end up paying it due to the high, multi-million-dollar exemption threshold.

However, those who do have to pay it – including very large estates that exceed the exemption, make sizable gifts, or utilize certain trust and asset protection strategies – can mitigate the impact with help from a South Florida lawyer experienced in drafting custom estate plans.

The high cost of federal taxes

Estate taxes can significantly reduce a legacy and cut inheritance to loved ones and cherished causes. Federal estate taxes can be as high as 40 percent. Although rates are subject to change, minimizing estate taxes is a goal for many people seeking to protect what matters most to them.

At The Levy Firm PLLC in Fort Lauderdale, estate planning lawyer Geoff Levy can help you draft legally strong estate plans that utilize financial mechanisms to mitigate estate tax liabilities and distribute your wealth as you see fit. Contact us for a confidential free consultation to learn more about how federal estate taxes may affect you and your heirs.

Who pays estate taxes in Florida?

Although Florida does not have a state estate tax, it is one of the top states where federal estate taxes are filed. In Florida, Form 706 is used to report and calculate any estate taxes owed to the IRS. But how do you know if you should file? Here are scenarios in which a federal estate tax report is likely:

  • Estate Value Beyond Exemption Threshold. If the overall value of the estate surpasses the federal estate tax exemption threshold. In 2024, the threshold was about $12 million for individuals and $24 million for couples.
  • Inclusion of Qualified Domestic Trusts (QDOTs). For estates involving a Qualified Domestic Trust, necessitating the filing of a federal estate tax return.
  • Non-Citizen Spouse and Exceeding Exclusion. In cases where the surviving spouse is not a U.S. citizen, and the estate surpasses the applicable exclusion amount.
  • Requirement Due to Specific Trusts. If the decedent's estate includes certain trusts like a bypass trust or a generation-skipping transfer tax-exempt trust.
  • Claiming Special Use Valuation. When the estate opts for a special use valuation for qualified real property, triggering the need for a federal estate tax return.
  • Reconciliation of Gifts and Estate. If the decedent previously filed a gift tax return, a federal estate tax return may be necessary to reconcile the lifetime gifts with the overall estate.

Geoff, our experienced Florida tax planning attorney, can estimate whether your assets will require federal estate taxes to be filed and what can be done to reduce this risk.

Estate planning done your way

At The Levy Firm PLLC, we understand that taxes and estate law can be complex and stressful. We promise to stand by your side, to listen carefully, and to provide clear, straightforward advice throughout the estate planning process.

Our boutique South Florida law firm specializes in tailored estate plans that maximize benefits to you and your loved ones. If you need estate planning services or have questions about how federal estate taxes could affect your legacy, contact The Levy Firm PLLC for a confidential free consultation.

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Free Consultation. Contact Us Today.

If protecting your legacy and the financial security of your loved ones is a concern of yours, it’s a concern of ours. Let’s talk. Our law firm provides legal services in English and Spanish. Free consultations for new clients.

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