The MLO Minute
ESTATE PLANNING IN THE WAKE OF THE NEW TAX ACT
January 2018: In the past decade, estate planning for families has changed dramatically, and the new Tax Act is another significant development. The new tax bill which has been signed into law doubles the estate tax exemption, so that couples with up to $22 million (and individuals with up to $11 million) in their estate in 2018 and beyond will avoid any Federal estate tax as they pass on their assets to the next generation. As a result, the need for sophisticated tax avoidance practices in estate planning will be reduced at the federal level, although the death tax schemes in many states still require careful planning to avoid unnecessary and significant state death taxes. However, it is noteworthy that the increased exemption is to expire at the end of 2025.
Estate planning in 2018 and beyond will now focus on issues other than the federal estate tax for everyone but a tiny percentage of Americans – less than 1/2 of one percent. For the rest of us, less financially driven issues may often predominate. The aging of our citizens, the higher incidence of children with disabilities in our nation, and a constantly changing legal landscape all combine to require a unique skill set in drafting appropriate estate planning documents. Critical issues to consider–among many others–include such matters as 1) the manner in which assets are left to children under the age of 25 (who may not be able to manage resources if given a large inheritance at an early age), 2) the short and long-term needs of a disabled child, 3) elder law planning for an aging parent, and 4) distributions in second marriages or blended families. These and other matters involve unique issues must be addressed with sensitivity and draw upon the benefit of substantial experience with these issues. Perhaps now more than ever, careful planning is essential.
At McAndrews Law Offices, we possess decades of experience which allow us to provide comprehensive estate planning services to our clients. We are able to tailor our work to the unique needs of every client and every family, from the most simple and straightforward estate plan, to those which require more complex planning involving elder law services, special-needs planning, and unique family circumstances. Our fee structure is available on our website – a feature virtually no other estate planning firm with such comprehensive services makes readily available. We are ready to address any and all challenges which 2018 brings to our clients, and we look forward to working with you in the future.