Mention estate planning, and conversations invariably turn to taxes. Thankfully, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 ushered in several sweeping and permanent changes.
For example, the amount exempt from federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes is set at $5 million, indexed for inflation ($10 million for married couples).
Although taxes are important, there are other equally critical considerations. Here are other estate planning objectives that most of us deeply care about:
- Care for loved ones,
- Pass on your legacy,
- Avoid probate and intestacy,
- Plan for disability, and
- Peace of mind.
Not sure if your current estate plan addresses these objectives? Ask yourself these questions:
- Who will receive my (family) assets? When? How?
- Will my children share equally?
- How can I shield my child from a financially predatory spouse?
- How can I provide for a child with substance abuse issues?
- Should I provide for grandchildren? How?
- How can I ensure that an inheritance is a financial legacy rather than a short-term windfall?
- Who will care for me and my spouse if I/we become disabled? How have I ensured this?
- Can my business remain in the family?
- How will successor management be identified and developed?
- How can I fairly treat my children who do not participate in the family business?
These are important objectives and questions. If you can’t answer these questions or don’t like the answers, it’s time to seriously review your estate plan. Our Trust Officers will be pleased to discuss these matters with you, keeping in mind that you should always consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before finalizing your plan.