Revisiting Your Estate Plan
The recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes major changes to the individual estate, gift and GST tax exemptions, warranting revisiting your estate plan. However, even if your state does not follow federal estate law, there are many reasons to revisit estate planning and possibly make adjustments to your will and other important documents.
What Does Your Will Mean To You & Others?
Your will is your mouthpiece for communicating your wants and intentions. Its provisions dictate how important assets will be transferred. It can also designate the ages at which distributions to beneficiaries are to be made, as well as any specific bequests of financial and nonfinancial assets.
Your will also lays out who will be the designated guardian for your children if they are minors or disabled in any way, as well as a successor guardian. They can also set aside financial assets for the guardian in your order to support your child.
The person or persons who have been tasked with managing the affairs of your estate is also very important. They take account of and marshal your assets and liabilities, working with the courts and disbursing your assets as you wish.
Wills Versus Trusts
The executor or personal representative is different from a trustee, who administers any trusts created under your will. Trusts may be created during your lifetime or upon your passing, and are controlled by state law. They allow for a certain amount of long-term control over the distribution of assets, which can be especially important if you want to make specific plans for your children and potentially protect the assets from the reach of a child’s estranged spouse. They also offer a certain degree of protection from creditors.
The ability to make lifetime gifts has also increased under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with the doubling of the individual estate and gift tax exemption. However, gifting is complicated, and should never be done without the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney.
Other Important Estate Planning Documents
There are additional, important documents that are part of your estate planning, such as the health care directive and/or proxy, durable power of attorney, and living will. Everyone should ideally, at a minimum, have a will, financial power of attorney, and an advanced medical directive, all which have been reviewed at least within the last 10 years.
Florida Estate Planning, Wills & Probate Attorneys
You would likely be amazed at the number of people who fail to revisit their estate plans. Changes in tax laws and in your personal circumstances and those of your beneficiaries could create unwanted results.
Sit down with one of our experienced Florida wills and probate attorneys today to complete a thorough review of your estate plan. It is important to take this step in order to ensure that you and your family are properly taken care of. Contact Moran, Sanchy & Associates at our Sarasota office today to schedule your consultation.