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Complete Your Estate Plan While the Year is Still New

MP900442211A new year brings all sorts of new opportunities. Promises that we make to ourselves don’t always get fulfilled, but one that you can do, with the help of an estate planning attorney, is complete or update your estate plan. It’s good for you and your family.

Having an up-to-date estate plan, before filing this year’s tax returns, is still a possibility. Putting an estate plan in place might be a significant factor in your tax planning, as well as protecting your family from future events. A few key tips come from an article in Utah Business, “5 Estate Planning Tips For 2019,”

Your Will. If you have a will, you’re ahead of more than half of the people in the U.S. Remember, however, that estate planning isn’t a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process that requires making sure your plan reflects your current wishes and financial situation. You should review your will at least every few years. However, there are also some life events that should trigger a review, regardless of when the last review occurred. These include marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child or grandchild, an inheritance, a large financial loss and the loss of a spouse.

A Trust. Anyone can create a trust, and it has real estate planning advantages. You can use a trust to pass assets to heirs and other beneficiaries, just like you could with a will. However, assets passed through a trust don’t need to go through probate. Using a trust to transfer assets provides privacy.

The Current Tax Breaks. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act gives us some significant tax cuts in 2019, such as a temporary doubled lifetime exclusion for the gift and estate tax, temporary exemptions from the generation-skipping transfer tax, higher annual gift limits and charitable contribution deductions. To see if you can use of any of these tax benefits, speak to an experienced estate planning attorney.

Talk to an Attorney for a Review of Your Estate Plan. It’s important to remember that estate planning is complicated. You should, therefore, develop a comprehensive estate plan with the help of an experienced attorney. Don’t be tempted to use an online legal do-it-yourself service to save a few dollars, because any mistakes you make could have a big impact on you and your family’s financial future.

Don’t overlook the importance of sitting down with an estate planning attorney. Estate planning law is based on state law, and every state has its own laws and procedures to be followed. If your estate plan is not done correctly, you run the risk of a will that is declared invalid during probate. That would mean that your assets will not be distributed, according to the wishes you expressed in your will.  As a result, decisions will be made according to the law. An estate planning attorney will ensure that your wishes are properly documented. She or he will also be able to help you work through the details, based on years of experience in helping others through this process.

Reference: Utah Business (February 5, 2019) “5 Estate Planning Tips For 2019”