As discussed in our last newsletter, the New Year brought with it significant changes to the estate tax law. Without these changes, individuals with estates of $1,000,000 or more would have been subjected to estate and gift taxes. Now, only estates over $5,250,000 (or $10,500,000 for married couples) will be taxed.
So, you are asking, why plan? Here are just three of many reasons:
1. Asset Preservation
Estate planning can help to protect both your current assets, and also the assets you leave for your children and grandchildren, keeping them in the family for many years into the future and making sure they are used for good purposes. Failure to take advantage of available protections could mean that your hard earned assets end up being lost or wasted. Asset preservation is a key benefit of estate planning that should not be ignored.
2. Disability Planning
Proper estate planning also makes sure that you and your loved ones are taken care of in the event that you become disabled. An annual review, such as we provide through our annual maintenance and updating program, is key to ensuring that your disability planning documents are up to date when/if you ever need them.
3. Planning to make a difference
Several clients are asking about ways they can use their wealth to make a difference in their community or in the world. Again, estate planning provides opportunities and solutions. A well-drafted estate plan can teach children and grandchildren how to be responsible with significant sums of money. It can also reach farther through philanthropic giving (which can be rewarding personally, as well as financially, through income and/or estate tax reduction.)
Of course, these are just three ideas out of many that could provide benefits to you and your family. We are here to help.