Do you have an estate plan? Everyone needs one, no matter your age. If you happen to pass on without one, your home state will make one for you, and you may not agree with how they distribute or dispose of your possessions. You likely want a say in who gets something, what they will get, and when they will get it. And you’d like this to happen with the least cost and with the least amount of government involvement. It’s no fun to think about mortality, but we find that the most successful plans are those that are thought out well in advance. And it’s a good idea to discuss your plan with family and heirs so they understand your rationale.
Since 2011, we’ve had relatively high exemption amounts for tax-free estates. In 2011, Congress raised the exemption to $5 million, and this has increased each year since then. For 2016, the exemption is $5,450,000 per person. A married couple can pass at least $10.9 million tax-free to their children or heirs if both die in 2016 or later. As recently as 2001, the exemption was only $675,000. These higher limits mean that estate planning is less about avoiding estate taxes, and more about providing for your family and business after you’re gone. As a minimum, you should have a will or living trust that spells out your wishes. If you have a family, life insurance to replace lost income and pay funeral expenses is also a must. We can recommend attorneys and financial advisors who can help you with these essential parts. Call our office so we can help you create the best plan for you.