The advent of the new year can serve as a reminder when it comes to things that we have been procrastinating about. With this in mind, you may want to schedule an estate plan review during 2014.
Estate Planning is a Process
Estate planning should be viewed as an ongoing process rather than a one-time event. Your original estate plan is going to be created based on a snapshot of your life at that time. If you are responsible, you will have an estate plan in place as a relatively young adult.
Over the years circumstances in your life will invariably change. You may get married, and children can enter the picture. As you travel along your career path you may have greater and greater financial capabilities. Along the way these significant life changes will render your existing estate plan obsolete.
You should definitely react to circumstances that clearly call for an estate plan update, such as changes in marital status. However, as a matter of course you should make sure that you work with your estate planning attorney to review your estate on a regular basis, perhaps every two or three years.
Another reason you should schedule a review is due to changes in the law and market conditions. For example, certain estate planning techniques are particularly useful when interest rates are low. You can ultimately save a lot of money if you act at the right time.
Of course, there is also the matter of taxation. In 2014, the amount of the estate tax exclusion is $5.34 million. Although no changes to this exemption amount is scheduled (other than annual adjustments for inflation), laws are always subject to change through legislative mandate.
Such a change could call for an adjustment to your estate plan. For example, the White House was recently presented with a budget proposing a reduction in the amount of the estate tax exclusion to $3.5 million. This reduction would go into effect in 2018.
This type of change would certainly trigger the need to review your strategy if you have estate tax exposure.
Free Estate Planning Consultation
Our firm offers free estate planning consultations to people here in the greater Oklahoma City area. If you would like to review your existing estate plan with the benefit of legal counsel, contact our firm to schedule an appointment.
We will look over your plan with you, gain an understanding of your current situation, and suggest any revisions that may be appropriate.
Parman & Easterday