Illustration of person lifting weights.

An estate planning checkup is key to your financial health.
Another year has flown by – meaning there’s a fresh, new one ahead. With a clean slate, you can make choices that will reap benefits in the upcoming year – and many years after.

One thing many of us seem to put off (besides heading back to the gym) is estate planning. Even if we have addressed it in the past, the plan is often filed away – even though circumstances change every year.

Cronin Law is here to help make sure your estate plan is in excellent shape. A simple meeting in a comfortable chair (coffee is on us) and you can move forward feeling both secure and accomplished.

First – do you have an estate plan?
If not, putting one in place needs to be one of the first things you do to get on track for 2016. Reason being, if you become incapacitated or pass away, everything you have can end up in probate court. Your home, your bank account – even your beloved pet!

Estate planning is necessary for everyone – not just the wealthy. The good news is, if you don’t have a complex situation, creating a plan is very straightforward. The alternative (not having one) ends up being a drain of time, money, and emotion for your loved ones.

Remember, in many cases, if you don’t have a will in place, the state basically writes one up instead, without any regard to your wishes. This is why it’s so important to work with an attorney who has the experience necessary to create a sound will, trust, health care directive, and power of attorney wherever you live.

Have an estate plan? When did you last look at it?
I have a client with a will that was drawn up in 1994. She recently realized that was 22 years ago! Since then she’s married, had three children, started working part-time and moved. You can imagine how out of date her plan is today! Making an appointment with me immediately was the smartest thing she could have done. Because a lot more than her situation has changed since then.

State and federal laws are not the same as the year that Ace of Base had all of those hits (you may need to look that one up). Between 2000 and 20012:

  • Federal estate tax exemption rose from $675,000 to a whopping $3,500,000.
  • Many estate taxes at the state level were dispensed with.
  • Federal estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping transfer taxes went through major changes.
  • The ‘portability’ of the federal estate tax exemption between married couples was introduced.

There have also been modifications to state laws concerning:

  • Governing wills
  • Trusts
  • Health Care Directives
  • Powers of Attorney

If you missed out on any of these shifts you may be losing out on some big opportunities. Or, be holding a plan that is no longer effective.

Remember, estate planning should change when you do.
Again, an annual checkup does wonders for your future and your peace of mind. We all know how quickly life can change. If your will or estate plan is filed away (do you know where it is right this second?) it is not only inaccessible but it may not fit your life as it is today.

For instance, did you get married? Divorced? Have a child? Welcome a grandchild? Change jobs? Sell your business? Retire? Strike oil? Any changes in your family or finances affects the status and validity of your plan. Successful estate planning needs to evolve with you. It’s the best way to to protect your interests and those you care about most.

Have questions?
Contact the team at Cronin Law. We want your 2016 to be your best year, yet.

Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment