We’ve put together a collection of estate planning tips for you and your family. If you’re like most people, there will be at least one thing on this list that you haven’t thought of yet. Others will serve as a gentle reminder to take action.
1. You need to name temporary guardians so that someone is authorized to care for your children in the event you are disabled (temporarily or permanently) and unable to care for them yourself.
After all, your will, appointing permanent guardians, isn’t effective until you actually die. Alternate documents are availablt to fill the void left in most estate plans.
2. Even your 18 year old needs an estate plan. Everyone age 18 or older needs his or her own estate plan. It need not be complex, but incapacity and death are not reserved for the elderly.
3. You can set up a trust for the care of your pet. Otherwise, your pet may be put in a shelter or euthanized.
4. You can pay medical expenses and tuition directly to a provider without incurring any gift tax or having to file a gift tax return.
5. “Love letters” from a parent or grandparent to a child are the most treasured of inheritances. Jot down some words of wisdom and/or love.
6. You can protect your child’s inheritance from divorce, bankruptcy, and lawsuits by wrapping the gift in an asset protection trust or other protective planning devices.
7. You can deduct (for federal income tax purposes) the portion of your estate planning legal fee attributable to tax planning.
8. Estate planning is not a lone ranger sport. With your permission, your estate planning attorney can coordinate efforts with your financial advisor, insurance professional, and CPA.
9. You should update your estate plan if you move to another state.
10. Even if you don’t have a federally taxable estate today, the laws may change and your assets may grow. It may be prudent to have tax provisions in your estate plan now.
If you have questions about any of these tips, consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney.