Estate Planning for the Remainder of 2012

In almost all new client situations that we review, we find certain things that should be corrected. Now is the time to review your estate and identify any of the issues listed below:  -Wills are out of date and refer to estate tax exemptions that have changed. The estate tax law has changed dramatically in the past ten years, and many older wills have clauses in them which no longer fully protect against estate taxes as completely as they could.  The current $5 million exemption will be replaced with an exemption amount of $1 million, unless the law is changed.  Gifts made will typically escape state level gift taxes (which have been repealed in NY). So making gifts is typically much cheaper than paying estate taxes later.

-Assets are not coordinated with the Wills. If all a couple's assets are titled as joint tenants with right of survivorship, the credit shelter formula provisions described on this site will not be able to operate properly, and usually unnecessary estate taxes will have to be paid one day.

-Waiting until a serious medical condition arises before seeing an estate planner. To take full advantage of many of the common techniques, estate plans need time for the restructuring efforts to have results which compound.

Cheryl Spratt