by Karen Stern
A new presidential administration and Democratic majority in the Senate have significantly increased the probability of changes to estate and gift tax laws.
Here are a few tips to prepare for potential changes in the law:
• Evaluate your current estate plan. Do you have a complete understanding of the current value of your assets and the amounts of your liabilities? Do you know what happens to your assets and liabilities upon your death? It’s very important to assess your current estate plan and make sure you have a good grasp of the details.
• Make any necessary updates. When was the last time you reviewed and updated your estate planning documents (e.g., will, revocable trust, power of attorney, living will, etc.)? Are the beneficiaries of your life insurance and retirement plans still accurate? Make any necessary modifications to ensure your existing plan is current and aligns with your goals and wishes.
• Find opportunities for flexibility. Once you have reviewed your current estate plan, examine it for improvement opportunities. Do you anticipate estate and/or income taxes being an issue for you? Where can you incorporate flexibility into your plan should unexpected changes occur?
• Avoid fear-based decisions. While changes to tax laws are forthcoming, it would be unwise to make drastic changes to your plan without a proper review of your current estate plan. Resist the urge to make impulsive decisions that may have lasting effects and get proper professional advice.
A thorough understanding of your current estate plan will help mitigate anxiety about an uncertain future. To learn more about preparing your estate plan in anticipation of potential tax law changes, contact David Heilich, Partner in Charge, Family Wealth Planning Group at Brown Smith Wallace, at 314.983.1273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Stern, CPA, (email@example.com), partner in charge, Brown Smith Wallace Entrepreneurial Services Group, provides tax and accounting services for companies ranging from start-ups to $20 million in revenue.