You already have an estate plan, but when was the last time you reviewed it? You’ve done all the hard work getting it carefully and thoroughly drafted and set up. You probably spent a good amount of money on attorney’s fees as well. But we’re here to remind you that it is also just as important to review your estate plan annually.
Reviewing your estate plan is incredibly important, especially this year (more on this later). Even though you have an estate plan set up, you need to review it every year in order to make sure that it is in compliance with new laws that have been passed. Additionally, if your circumstances have drastically changed, you might need to amend your estate plan as well. Here are some common occurrences that warranting amending and changing your current estate plan:
- You recently came into a lot of wealth or assets, your plan should be amended to avoid any tax consequences
- You want a new trustee or change the current trustee for your living trust
- You want to change the instructions in your advance health care directive
- You want to change or add another agent for your durable power of attorney
- One of your named beneficiaries has passed away so you need to make sure his or her share passes to the right people
- Your family has grown, either with more children or grandchildren and you want to include them in your estate plan
- You may have been recently married, separated, or divorced. California is a community property state, so you need to amend your estate plan if your marital status has changed
2013 has been an eventful year for the estate planning world. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was passed on January 2, 2013, which greatly changed federal transfer tax laws:
- The federal tax exemption amount is set at $5 million (with adjustments made yearly for inflation). For 2013, the exemption is at $5.25 million.
- Portability for married couples is made permanent
- The annual gift tax exemption has been increased from $13,000 to $14,000 per year, per recipient. So, a married couple can now gift up to $28,000 per year without incurring a gift tax or having it count against their lifetime exemption
All of these scenarios will greatly affect your estate plan and are very important considerations for you to think about. Take some time to think things over. Make sure your estate plan is in line with your true desires, wishes, and personal goals. The estate planning attorneys at Atlantis Law LLP are valuable resources who can provide you with advice about the most beneficial course of action. If you need us to review your estate plan or amend it for you, we can do that as well. Just make sure that your estate plan is clearly in line with your true desires and goals.