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Updating Your Estate Plan: Things to Consider in 2021

If you have an estate plan, you are one step ahead of the game! As times change, it is a good idea to look at your current estate plan and be sure it is updated to reflect the changing times.

Checklist for Updating Your Estate Plan

Now is a better time than ever to pull out your estate plan and go over any areas that may be out of date. Meeting with a professional team can help you identify the areas that can be updated to bring you and your family the most benefits.

1. Medical Power of Attorney: Be sure that your medical documents are up-to-date. Your appointed medical power of attorney should clearly understand your wishes if you were to be incapacitated. You should review your medical power of attorney every decade, diagnosis, death, divorce, and decline.

2. New Estate Planning Strategies: Taxes and benefits that apply to estate planning change over the years. As of 2021, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is $11,700,000. Your estate plan should reflect that. You can also meet with a lawyer to utilize the different trusts like the Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLAT) and other strategies that may apply to you.

3. Addition of Newly Acquired Assets: Take a look at your estate plan to update it with any new assets.

4. Retirement Policies and the SECURE Act: The SECURE act requires that all beneficiaries be paid within 10 years of the participant's death. Before, you could stretch it out over the years, dividing up the amount of taxes to be paid at once. These changes in law can affect your current plan and prompt some updates.

5. All Beneficiaries and Appointed Positions are Current: It is always a good idea to review all beneficiaries and grantors of your trust. You can assess if your estate has grown so large that a third-party professional may be better suited as the corporate executor.

Estate planning isn’t a one-and-done task to check off your list. The documents should be reviewed regularly, updating them as time goes on and life situations change. This checklist can be your starting point to review every year or two.

Contact a Lawyer to Help

If you haven’t taken a look at your estate plan for a few years, there might be some updates to make. Miles & Hatcher, LLP, can help. Our team is available to ask any questions regarding recent changes that may affect your estate plan. Give us a call and set up a free consultation: (909) 481-4080.

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