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Top ways to reduce estate taxes

There are many details to consider when creating an estate plan, including what will happen to your assets upon your death. Building on this, you want to consider the taxes your heirs will be responsible for paying.

Many people neglect to consider the ways to reduce estate taxes, as they believe there is no good strategy for doing so. While it may take a little bit of work and some adjustments to your estate plan, there are steps you can take to reduce estate taxes.

Below are several options to consider. There is a good chance that one or more of these will work for you and your situation:

-- Marital transfers.

-- Lifetime gifts to children (also grandchildren).

-- Uniform transfer to minors.

-- Irrevocable life insurance trusts.

-- AB Trusts.

-- QTIP Trusts.

-- Private annuity.

-- Qualified family owned business interest

-- Special use real estate valuation

-- Charitable transfers

Some of these strategies may work perfectly for your situation, based on the estate plan you have in place. For example, you can make gifts to charities to reduce the size of your estate, thus lowering the estate tax. Of course, if you plan on doing something like this, it takes advanced planning.

It does not matter if you have an estate plan in place or are creating one for the first time, you need to think about the steps you can take to reduce estate taxes for your heirs. When you have the right plan, it will give you peace of mind in knowing that your loved ones will receive as much of your estate as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "10 Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes," accessed July 14, 2015

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