The presidential election may impact some of your long-term estate plans. Do you have an estate plan? Have you reviewed it recently? Your estate plan should be reviewed every 3 years, or when there is a life-changing event in the family such as moving to a new state, a wedding, death, birth, or major change in health or finances. The National Law Review’s Top Ten Estate Planning Recommendations before the End of 2020 has a good overview of some additional considerations this year:
President-elect Biden has indicated he may lower the estate tax exemption, which in 2020 is $11,580,000 per individual and $23,160,000 for married couples. To lower your federal estate tax exemptions you may consider updating your estate plan:
If you are a married couple with children but are not ready to gift significant amounts of money to your children or to put assets into trusts for them, you might consider a SLAT–Spousal Lifetime Access Trust to create and gift the exemption amount to a SLAT yet still maintain access to the assets.
Our estate planning year-end checklist has key considerations for an annual review of your estate plan.
1. Financial Gifts
Have you made a substantial financial gift to a loved one this year? Make sure you are meeting your gift – and gift tax – goals by the end of December.
2. Review Your Beneficiaries
Your beneficiaries are the people you’ve said will receive your assets. As time passes, peoples’ needs change and you may need to rethink your beneficiaries to consider a loved one’s changes.
3. Inventory Your Assets
Have you purchased a new home, sold a business or been left an inheritance? You don’t want new assets to be subject to probate or other unintended costs, and you don’t want to cause a problem for your beneficiaries by leaving valuables out of your will or trust.
4. Document Your Competency
To prevent challenges to your will due to mental incapacity or ill health, ask your estate planning attorney to help you show you were competent to draft your will by having a signed doctor’s statement of competency and having the will witnesses sign that you were “of sound mind and memory” when you signed your will.
5. Talk To Your Family
Family conflict is the #1 threat to estate planning. Schedule a time to sit down with your spouse, adult children, parents and other key family members to review your estate plan.
Add estate planning to your year-end checklist to secure your future and protect the future of your loved ones. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in preparing legal documents such as drafting wills, a power of attorney, a family trust and other steps to protect your estate and preserve your assets.
Do you have questions about estate planning? Our experienced estate planning lawyers in Lombard, Illinois can advise you on the best options to protect your assets and loved ones. To talk to an estate planning attorney contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
We provide legal services in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.