When is the last time you have reviewed your Revocable trust, life insurance policy or other Estate Plans? With a new calender year it is a good time to remind families of the importance that revolves around estate planning. While knowing and understanding tax laws is important, taking advantage of non-tax considerations will increase likelyhood of success regardless of the tax prospective in this new year and beyond.
The first "non-tax" recommendation is not to ignore the lax laws completely. Protecting your assests from possible estate tax is the issue at hand.
According to Stuart B. Dorsett is a member of the Business, Elder Law, Nonprofit Organizations, and Trusts and Estates. He is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law and is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Even though Congress has acted acts to stave off "Fiscal Cliff," uncertainty about the future of the gift and estate tax laws will continue. Despite this uncertainty, meaningful estate planning goals can be achieved. Estate planning is only partly, and only sometimes, about tax. Optimizing your estate plan requires careful attention to the following "non tax" considerations:
1. Plan For The Possibility Of Estate Tax: Given the recent fluctuations in the estate tax exemption, it is wise to create a plan that allows future flexibility for your spouse and other beneficiaries.
2. Reassess Existing Life Insurance Policies: While most people follow the performance of their stocks, bonds, and mutual funds assiduously, they frequently ignore the economic performance of their life insurance policies. A life insurance policy with cash value is an investment and should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the policy will remain in effect through the insured's death and that it is performing competitively with the currently available insurance products.
3. Incorporate Asset Protection Planning Into Estate Plans: One of the great "missed opportunities" in estate planning is structuring a child's inheritance in a way that protects the assets from unforeseen circumstances. Often assets are left outright to an adult beneficiary, but outright ownership exposes those assets to any third-party claims against that beneficiary such as lawsuits, bankruptcy, and divorce. This exposure can be avoided. Such a design allows the beneficiary to retain all of the "good" aspects of ownership without any of the "bad."
At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones. We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.
We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.