There are usually lots of opportunities to reduce taxes in estate planning. The trick, however, is to make sure that the cost of saving the tax ( the legal fees and different taxes) are not MORE than the taxes that you are saving in the first place! A good example of a bad idea is to add children as joint tenants on mom’s house. This is often done (honestly I get asked to do this ALL the time) to save 1.5 percent probate fees on mom’s death. BUT when the child(ren) already own their own property and mom is not ready to die, this results in many years of capital gains that will have to be taxed in the children’s hands. The child has already using their principal residence exemption on their own home. In case things got even worse when one of the kids became a non-resident of Canada. This made an even bigger tax mess! So the key thing to remember about planning to save taxes is not to make a bigger mess with unforeseen and unknown consequences.
Properly planned estates have assets arranged and owned so as to minimize any taxes payable. Marginal tax rates, spousal rollovers and trusts are all common tools that can result in huge tax savings.