We are finally are putting 2020 behind us and entering a new year with a clean slate! Given how tumultuous the year has been with the pandemic, as well as the change in administration, there are certain estate planning matters that should be a top priority.
We put together this checklist so you can make sure your estate plan is up to date:
Did you have any Major Life Events Last Year, such as an out-of state move, marriage, birth or death?
If so, you may want to make changes to your existing documents or finally check estate planning off your to-do list.
Have you named a Guardian for your minor children?
Do you and your family have advance directives in place?
The pandemic has illustrated the importance of having a health care proxy to make medical decisions for you if you cannot, a living will to document your end of life wishes and a power of attorney naming an agent to be your fiduciary in case you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
Did you name children or other non-spouse beneficiaries on your retirement accounts?
If so you will want to revisit the designations in light of the SECURE Act. The SECURE Act eliminated the lifetime stretch for most beneficiaries, forcing beneficiaries to withdraw the entire IRA within 10 years. This could have serious income tax consequences and create an untenable situation for beneficiaries who need spendthrift trusts.
Do you own a business? If you are a sole proprietor, single S Corp owner, or have an LLC interest, you need to make sure that you have a business succession plan.
Do you have a revocable trust but are unsure whether your trust is fully funded?
The main reason clients create revocable trusts is to avoid probate, but if you have assets in your sole name that are not in the trust – those assets must pass through probate
Do you have assets that exceed $3.5 million dollars?
If so you will want to consider gifting techniques to capture the high federal exemption before it is too late.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider updating your estate plan.