Estate Planning

3 Tips for Reviewing Your Estate Plan


by Alli Thomas

Feb 2, 2021

When is time to come to review your estate plan? A good rule of thumb is to review it whenever you go through major life changes. These include events such as selling your home or business, going through a divorce, remarrying, or death of a spouse. 

If you didn’t review your estate plan in 2020, it’s even more important to review as soon as possible because of the substantial changes caused by the pandemic and the government response. Taking political risk and legal changes into a count is critical when considering creating or modifying your estate plan. Here are three things to think about: 

  1. While nothing has been announced yet,the recent shift in political power could have a big effect on estate taxes. Even though Congress is currently preoccupied with other matters, it’s not a good idea to just “wait and see” what happens. If you put off reviewing your estate plan until after a bill is proposed, you may have a hard time finding a qualified estate lawyer or financial planner to work with. Or you may be excluded from any potential grandfathering if new laws are passed. When it comes to estate planning, sooner is always better than later. 
  2. Reconsider making large gifts to trusts that you may not be able to access just to use your exemption before a possible change in political power. An experienced financial advisor or estate planner can help you figure out the best type of trust that will allow you to retain control over your money. Some of the options that may work are a Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) or a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT), the latter of which is permitted in 19 states.
  3. Meet with your financial team to discuss how the recent SECURE Act, which took effect at the start of 2020 might affect your estate plan. Wondering what you should specifically review? To name a few: insurance coverage, beneficiary designations and the type of trusts you currently have! You should make sure that all of these components of your estate plan are still optimal now that the new law is in place if you haven’t already. 

If you need to create an estate plan, or you’re just looking for a second opinion on your existing plan, we can help! Click here to make a no-cost, no-obligation appointment with one of our financial advisors.

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Alli Thomas

Alli Thomas has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on retirement-related investing. She began her career as a FINRA-licensed participant-services call-center associate at Vanguard, and then moved to Principal Financial Group, where she worked closely with employers, assisting with retirement plan set-up and design, selecting appropriate plan investment offerings, and maximizing employee participation through targeted education campaigns and enrollment meetings. Alli has also worked as a qualified 401(k) administrator and registered investment advisor for several small investment firms. She now writes about all things investment- and finance-related, leveraging her extensive experience and passion for retirement planning to help investors make well-informed financial decisions.

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