Last year, New Jersey collected approximately $400 million in estate taxes. Starting in 2018, New Jersey will stop collecting estate taxes. So, what will come of that $400 million in unexpected wealth going forward? What if we challenged ourselves as New Jerseyans to devote, say, 50 percent of this savings to New Jersey communities to fight hunger, safeguard our environment, shore up our schools or benefit other causes dear to our hearts?
The estate tax restructuring has its proponents and critics, but everyone recognizes that, with more money available to give away, charitable New Jersey families have a unique opportunity to expand and deepen their philanthropy.
At the Community Foundation of New Jersey, we are already seeing increased interest in charitable bequests and large, long-term legacy gifts. We are optimistic that a new wave of New Jersey philanthropy will emerge as more families choose to not only remain in our state, but also give back through their estates to the communities they care about.
Increasing the estate tax exclusion from $675,000 to $2 million in January 2017 and then eliminating the estate tax entirely in January 2018 will dramatically change the context in which families make important estate and charitable planning decisions.