Estate Planning Resolutions for the New Year

Ward and Smith, P.A.

For many of us, the start of a new year can be a time of empty commitment to self-improvement.  Meaningful resolutions are infrequently made and rarely kept.  Instead of purchasing a gym membership or pretending that we will enjoy salad as an entree this year, perhaps we should resolve to secure our family's future better through planning for incapacity and death.  There is no time like the present to evaluate the planning that we have or have not undertaken.

Relevant considerations may include:

  • Is my current estate plan structured in a way that will promote efficient administration and minimize family effort and expense, or even controversy, at my death?
  • Do I have Powers of Attorney and a Living Will that express my wishes and allow my family to make financial and health care decisions in the event of my incapacity?
  • Will my qualified retirement account(s) pass to my beneficiaries in the most protected and tax-efficient manner?
  • Have I implemented planning that will allow my business to continue operating after my incapacity or death?
  • Are my assets structured in a way that limits my exposure to potential liability?

Potential for significant law changes in 2017:

Significant changes to the gift and estate tax system are possible in the wake of the 2016 election.  Although legislation has yet to be introduced, there has been discussion of proposed changes. When appropriate, we will disseminate an in-depth analysis of any proposed legislation.  In the meantime, we are prepared to discuss the possible ramifications of any proposed legislation. 

Suggested Action:

Move estate and related planning to the top of your 2017 resolutions list.  There is no time like the present to implement or update a plan that is meaningful to your family and you. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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