Estate Planning Resolutions for the New Year

For many of us, the start of a new year can be a time of empty commitment to self-improvement.  Meaningful resolutions are infrequently made and rarely kept.  Instead of purchasing a gym membership or pretending that we will enjoy salad as an entree this year, perhaps we should resolve to secure our family's future better through planning for incapacity and death.  There is no time like the present to evaluate the planning that we have or have not undertaken.

Relevant considerations may include:

  • Is my current estate plan structured in a way that will promote efficient administration and minimize family effort and expense, or even controversy, at my death?
  • Do I have Powers of Attorney and a Living Will that express my wishes and allow my family to make financial and health care decisions in the event of my incapacity?
  • Will my qualified retirement account(s) pass to my beneficiaries in the most protected and tax-efficient manner?
  • Have I implemented planning that will allow my business to continue operating after my incapacity or death?
  • Are my assets structured in a way that limits my exposure to potential liability?

Potential for significant law changes in 2017:

Significant changes to the gift and estate tax system are possible in the wake of the 2016 election.  Although legislation has yet to be introduced, there has been discussion of proposed changes. When appropriate, we will disseminate an in-depth analysis of any proposed legislation.  In the meantime, we are prepared to discuss the possible ramifications of any proposed legislation. 

Suggested Action:

Move estate and related planning to the top of your 2017 resolutions list.  There is no time like the present to implement or update a plan that is meaningful to your family and you.  For assistance, please contact any of our Trusts and Estates attorneys at 800.998.1102.

© 2018 Ward and Smith, P.A. For further information regarding the issues described above, please contact Peter B. von Stein.

This article is not intended to give, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. No action should be taken in reliance upon the information contained in this article without obtaining the advice of an attorney.

We are your established legal network with offices in Asheville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington, NC.

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