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Ohio Repeals Estate Tax for 2013

It is always a good tactic to review estate plans periodically with your Ohio estate planning attorney. The law is constantly changing, and new proposed legislation can make your current estate plan less effective if not updated regularly.

For example, in Ohio legislation to eliminate the estate tax by 2013 was signed into law on June 30, 2011. Governor Kasich signed the bill as a part of the 2012-2013 state budget.

The elimination of the state estate tax has received some scrutiny in the press. Currently about 80 percent of estate tax revenue goes to local governments; these governments are already cash-strapped and hungry for more funding.

However, many view a high estate tax as harmful to the economy of the state, as high net worth individuals may leave the state in pursuit of less or no estate tax (about 28 states do not have an estate tax). This, in turn, would harm Ohio as well, because revenue, spending and job growth from that wealth would move to another more estate tax-friendly state. Ohio previously had the lowest threshold for estate taxation, taxing any money and assets over $338,333. Proponents of the estate tax repeal point to the benefit for many Ohio residents, particularly those that have family farms and small businesses.

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The repeal only affects state taxes. Federal estate tax laws will still apply to any estate worth more than the federal exemption amount. In addition, a comprehensive estate plan can do much more than reduce estate tax; it can help to avoid probate or inheritance disputes among beneficiaries when dividing up assets and property.

While the repeal of the estate tax is certainly good news for anyone with an estate valued over $338,333, this does not mean your estate planning needs are over. Trusts, wills and other estate planning devices can still protect yourself, your estate, and your beneficiaries. Contact an estate planning attorney for further information regarding whether your estate planning needs are met by your current plan.