Due to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and the IRS-established inflation adjustment, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is $5.43 million per individual for this year. Additionally, the Ohio legislature repealed the Ohio estate tax effective the beginning of 2013.
As result, it might be tempting to think that you no longer need to keep your estate plan up-to-date. However, even if your estate falls below this $5.43 million exemption threshold, virtually everyone would still be wise to keep their estate documents up to date. Consider the following estate planning tools:
- A will to specify who will inherit your estate and who will be the guardian of any minor children you have.
- A durable financial power of attorney to authorize someone to handle your financial affairs if you become disabled or seriously ill.
- A health care directive, which states your health care wishes if you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
- An up-to-date financial inventory listing all of your bank accounts, investments, insurance policies, real estate and business holdings, and your income sources.
- Appropriate beneficiary designations on your IRAs, 401(k) plan, and insurance policies. Make sure these financial assets will be directed to exactly whom you want them to go.
- Potentially a living trust. There are still many non-tax reasons for some people to consider using a living trust, such as management, privacy, and a gradual, controlled distribution of your estate to your beneficiaries.
Work with a qualified financial advisor and an estate planning attorney to keep your estate plan up-to-date. It is easy to intend to do this but then forget about it. Instead, pull out your calendar and schedule this appointment today.
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