Since so few Americans actually pay the federal estate tax, that’s not enough of a reason to put off doing or updating your estate plan. It is better to get it done by year’s end and then adjust it, if necessary.
Some parts of the tax code may change, if the Trump administration gets its wish to eliminate the estate and gift transfer taxes. However, as reported by The Paradise (CA) Post in a recent article, “Some death tax advice,” even if those goals are accomplished, most people still have to address common estate planning issues.
Although saving estate taxes has been a major motivator for creating a revocable living trust, with federal taxes rarely an issue, state estate taxes may still apply.
Strategies utilized through the use of a trust may still be needed to limit the impact of state estate taxes. If you value privacy for yourself and your heirs, you should also consider a trust. A simple will or no will makes your life a public affair.
Think about who will inherit. You may need to address an inheritance for young beneficiaries, those with special needs and those vulnerable to other risks (such as addiction or financial improprieties).
Next, look at the way in which your assets are titled and your beneficiary designations. Don’t assume that assets will pass as desired. Documents can be drafted, but the actually re-titling of assets may not happen and your beneficiaries may need to be updated.
Succession planning is often the weakest link in a business owner’s estate plan. Without a succession plan in place, a family may find itself facing expensive and complex legal and financial challenges. A good succession plan can take many years to create and refine, regardless of the estate tax law.
Sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you address these challenges and plan for the future.
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