Most people don’t like to think about death, much less plan for it. And since there is no legal requirement to do estate planning, many of us put it off. Yet the truth is that investing a little time in estate planning can pay off in lower taxes and administrative costs, increased financial security for your loved ones, and best
of all, your own peace of mind.
Take this quiz to see if you need to do some estate planning.
• Do you have a will?
• Have you made provisions for guardianship of minor children?
• Have you reviewed your will since the latest tax law change in January 2013?
• Are you living in the same state where your will was drawn up?
• Would your family be financially secure if you died?
• Do you understand the problems with owning property jointly with right of survivorship?
• Have you recently reviewed beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.?
• Have you considered taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion?
• Does your current estate plan take advantage of the tax savings available as the rules continue to change?
A no answer to any of these questions could signal the need for some planning or for a revision to your current plan.
Estate planning is an ongoing project. Review your plan and documents on a regular basis to ensure that they are up to date for current tax law and your personal situation.
Thomas R. Seitz is a certified public accountant at Wessel & Co.