A last will and testament or a living trust can make certain that your goals for legacy and asset disposition are satisfied and carried out. However, what most people fail to grasp is that a will or trust needs regular review—especially if the document was written or involved the creation of a trust prior to passage of tax reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), in 2017, says Financial Advisor’s recent article entitled “Tax Changes Make This A Good Time To Revise A Will.”
Wills can pass on assets, but taxes have come to greatly impact how much money is passed on. People usually understand the primary components, including the tax implications, of their wills.
- The unlimited marital deduction
- Applying current rules to make non-taxable gifts of up to $15,000 per person
- The current estate tax exemption of $11.58 million
- Health care directives
- Naming trustees and executors; and
- Creating long-term trusts with non-taxable asset transfers.
Wills and trusts were created prior to the passage of the TCJA may not consider that tax reform changed the amount which can be exempted from estate taxes.
The law more than doubled the amount that can be exempted from estate taxes. The potential tax changes could cause many more Americans to have a taxable estate, and it’s important to have a full understanding of your assets and carefully decide who you want to receive them. You must also decide if you want them passed outright or through a trust.
Privacy is a good reason why some people often prefer living trusts. They also like the quick processing and avoiding probate.
Estate plans should be reviewed every few years, and wills should be reviewed more frequently because life changes are the biggest reason for trouble in revising wills.
Divorce, separation or marriage; the birth or adoption of children, as well as a child reaching adulthood; and changes to finances, location and health all can play important roles.
Reference: Financial Advisor (Nov. 9, 2020) “Tax Changes Make This A Good Time To Revise A Will”