- Learn about the estate tax exclusion.
- Find out why you need a will or trust.
- Discover the life-changing circumstances than can most affect your estate plan.
When was the last time you or your attorney reviewed or updated your will or trust? Did you do your estate planning some time ago before the passage of substantial tax law changes? Then your documents may be out of date. Among the many tax changes was a substantial revision to the estate tax exclusion. The estate tax exclusion is the amount below which your estate is not subject to taxes when you die – and it’s increasing in 2022.
No doubt your will or trust was prepared with not just estate taxes in mind but so that your assets will be distributed after your death according to your wishes. However, certain events besides the tax laws being revised can cause these documents to become outdated. In this case, all of your careful estate planning could be for nothing.
Estate planning must be up to date
Life’s ever-changing circumstances make estate planning an ongoing process. If you don’t keep your will or trust up to date, your money and assets could end up in the wrong hands. So, a periodic review of your will or trust is an essential part of estate planning. Here is a partial list of occurrences that could cause your will or trust to be outdated:
- Your marital status has changed.
- Your heirs’ marital status has changed.
- You have relocated to another state.
- You’ve had or adopted children.
- Your children are no longer minors.
- Your children are now mature enough to handle their own financial matters.
- You have sold or acquired a major asset or assets.
- Your assets have significantly changed in value.
- Your personal representative (executor, trustee) has changed.
- You wish to delete or add heirs.
- Your health status has changed.
- Estate laws have changed.
Are your named beneficiaries up to date on your life insurance policies, IRA accounts, and pension plans? For example, did you forget to remove your ex-spouse or a deceased relative as your beneficiary? Successful estate planning relies on up-to-date information.
You should never overlook or put off these issues because once you pass on, it will be too late to make changes.