As soon as you have people relying on you, estate planning becomes an absolute must. Marriage is the first event that will enter the picture, and when you have children, you have to take your estate planning efforts to another level.
Once your family is established and your plan reflects the dynamic, you may feel comfortable from an estate planning perspective, and the years will pass. Over time, events can take place that make estate plan revisions necessary, and you should be aware of this from the start.
Major Life Changes
Clearly, you have to make estate plan adjustments when major life events occur, and you probably do not need anyone to remind you. Divorce and remarriage would fit this description, and additions and subtractions to the family would also be triggering events.
There is another aspect that you may not consider. The federal estate tax carries a 40 percent rate, and it is applicable on the portion of an estate that exceeds the exclusion. Here in Connecticut, we have a state-level estate tax as well.
In 2022, the federal estate tax exclusion stands at $12.06 million, but it is going down to $5.49 million adjusted for inflation in 2026. The Connecticut estate tax exclusion is $9.1 million this year.
If your estate plan was established years ago, and you have had a significant level of financial success, you may be exposed to estate taxes. Under these circumstances, your plan can be adjusted to include an estate tax efficiency strategy that will ease the burden.
Aside from these major events, there are other things to take into consideration. Do all of your beneficiary designations reflect your current wishes? This applies to insurance policies, pensions, and individual retirement accounts along with your will or trust.
Even if they are up to date, you may want to add alternate beneficiaries to cover your bases if something happens to one of the existing beneficiaries.
There is also the matter of your trustee and/or executor. Are they still willing and fully capable of performing the tasks that will be required? Once again, you can add alternates to your documents to make sure that the administration process will run smoothly under any and all circumstances.
A letter of last instruction is a very useful document that should be part of your estate plan. In this letter, you provide important information that your estate administrator will need to do the job.
This will include a list of people that should be contacted about your passing, keys and access codes, the location of property and hard copy documents, usernames, passwords, etc. If you created a letter many years ago, an update may be necessary.
Attend a Complimentary Seminar!
We have provided some food for thought in this post, and as you can see, there are elements that can be overlooked. It is important to act in an informed manner when you are planning your estate, and you can become better equipped if you attend one of our seminars.
The sessions are held at comfortable locations in our service areas, so the surroundings are pleasant, and we consistently get positive feedback from attendees. You will learn a lot if you attend one of these events, and they are offered at no cost.
The dates are posted on our seminar schedule page, and when you identify the one that works for you, follow the instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
Need Help Now?
Learning is important, and it all leads to the final step. If you are ready to work with an attorney to put a plan in place, we would be glad to provide the assistance you need.
Each situation is different, and there are many approaches that can be taken. There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan, so personalized attention is key. When you choose our firm, we will gain an understanding of your unique objectives and make the appropriate recommendations.
At the end of the process, you will emerge with a custom craft plan will bring your legacy to life. If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation at our Glastonbury or Westport, CT estate planning offices if you call us at 860-548-1000.
There is also a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message, and if you reach out electronically, we will get back in touch with you promptly.
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