Think your estate plan is a one-and-done task? Think again.
January is arguably the best time to refresh your estate plan. If “getting organized” was one of your New Year’s resolutions, organizing your estate plan should be a part of that goal.
Here’s what you need to know to get started with Johnson Wealth and Income Management.
What is Estate Planning and Why is it Important?
Do you want a say in what will happen to your possessions after you die? Do you want to help prevent your family from fighting over your assets? If so, then you could benefit from an estate plan.
Effective estate planning can help you to manage your affairs during your lifetime and control the distribution of your wealth after death. An effective estate strategy can spell out your healthcare wishes and help ensure that they’re carried out – even if you are unable to communicate. It can even designate someone to help manage your financial affairs should you be unable to do so.
If you haven’t updated your estate plan in a while, you may be missing out on some opportunities to help protect yourself and your loved ones. In addition to your own family and life circumstances, external factors you may not be aware of, such as changes to state or federal gift and estate tax exemptions, could have implications for your estate plan.
It’s important to note that making large gifts now won’t harm estates after 2025. The IRS clarified that taking advantage of gift tax exclusion amounts from 2018-2025 will not be impacted after 2025 when the exclusion amount drops to pre-2018 levels.
However, if you haven’t updated your estate plan, the large increase in the estate tax exemption amount could cause assets to be distributed in ways you never intended. It is always best to check in with your trusted Fiduciary advisor to help ensure that you are on the right track.
Despite major federal or state tax changes, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your estate plan, even if that means reviewing it on a regular basis. The more focus you put on having this document up to date, the more you help ensure your family is taken care of.
Changes that will warrant a review of your estate plan will likely fall in these categories.
Major Life Events:
- Marriage (or divorce).
- Death of a spouse or child.
- Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild.
- A move to a different state.
- Marriage (or divorce) of a child.
- Retirement date changes.
- A significant illness.
- A child’s decision to pursue a career outside of the family business.
- Trustee of any trust you have created.
- Guardian for a child or individual who needs care.
- Executor or personal representative of your estate.
- Attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney.
- Health care proxy/agent.
Changes in Assets:
- Purchase of property in a different state.
- Rolling 401(k) or other qualified plan assets into an IRA.
- Receipt of an inheritance.
- Plans to sell a business or take it public.
- A significant increase in your wealth.
- Purchase or surrender of life insurance.
Legal or Tax Changes
- A change in the federal gift, estate or generation skipping transfer tax rate or exemption amount.
- A change in your state’s gift, inheritance or estate tax rate or exemption amount.
- A change in trust or property laws that may affect you.
How Johnson Wealth and Income Management Can Help
The world around us is constantly changing. We can’t stop time, but we can help you stay ahead of it by meeting with us from time to time to review major changes that have occurred since your plan was last updated.
At Johnson Wealth and Income Management, our Fiduciary advisors make it their priority to have a clear understanding of your current financial picture in order to review your goal funding status. Your Fiduciary advisor at Johnson Wealth and Income Management also has access to industry resources and tools such as our estate planning checklists, that can help you identify changes that you may want to discuss with your estate planning attorney as you are reviewing the need for any tax driven changes.
Here are some of the tax driven changes you may find helpful:
- You have retirement savings plans or other qualified plan assets that are not integrated into your estate plan.
- You envision your assets benefiting grandchildren and future generations.
- You would like a portion of your wealth to fund charitable causes.
- Nonfinancial assets such as private business interests, investment real estate, farm and ranch land are a significant source of wealth.
- You have already made gifts, and want to take advantage of the new, higher gift tax exemption amount before it is set to expire at the end of 2025.
Johnson Wealth and Income Management is here to help you every step of the way when it comes to planning your estate. We strive to serve as an educator to our clients, a role where we have the ability to provide day-to-day management of nonfinancial assets, which in the long run can be useful.
We work with you to identify solutions that will help you reach your financial goals. Are you interested in learning more about our Estate Planning services?
Contact us today to set up a complimentary appointment.
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