Few of us relish the idea of making out or updating our wills. Perhaps we would rather defer making difficult decisions, such as who to entrust with childcare, or managing investments, or administering trusts, or overseeing asset distribution. Or perhaps we are simply uncomfortable dealing with something that makes us so directly confront our own mortality. Despite these reservations, if you do not have a will that was executed or reviewed in the past five years, you should have an estate planning review performed by a skilled professional. Some important questions to consider in the review:
- Have you changed your state of residence?
- Are all beneficiaries still deserving of your good intentions? If so, are appropriate safeguards in place to protect them against spendthrifts (including themselves)?
- Are all executors, administrators, trustees, custodians, etc. still living and able/willing to serve?
- Have all appropriate measures been taken to minimize federal estate taxes and any state estate and inheritance taxes? (Many estates small enough to escape federal taxation are caught by state tax laws with much smaller exemption amounts.)
- Are these provisions flexible enough to accommodate likely changes to the tax laws?
We hope you found this informative. As always, we welcome your feedback.