Such timeframes allow for you to address important issues. But over the past year we have suffered a global pandemic, with millions of lives having been lost around the globe. A new presidential administration is focused on raising taxes, possibly including the estate tax. On the positive side, we have enjoyed a booming stock market that has added trillions of dollars to taxpayers’ wealth. Because of these recent events, now is the time to review your estate plan!
Probably all of us know someone who died or was hospitalized from Covid. That makes our own mortality that much more real. We hope we have plenty of time to deal with issues surrounding death, but the timing is truly an unknown for all of us. I know it’s not fun, but all of us have a responsibility to our families to set up an estate plan so our affairs are settled in a timely and efficient fashion.
The pandemic aside, and the sudden drop in the markets during the spring of 2020, the stock market has enjoyed a steady incline for at least 12 years now and many of us have a much higher net worth. Thus, the wealth we transfer to our spouse, children, grandchildren, and charities will have more impact and significance than we probably previously imagined.
And taxes. Ugh. For most of us, we do not get excited about paying taxes on income, real estate, and sales. But many are surprised to learn that there is another tax, the estate tax, levied on estates above certain amounts before the assets are transferred to heirs. The current law provides a 40% tax on estates above $11.7 million. However, as part of near-term tax reform, that threshold may decrease significantly, likely somewhere between $3.5 million to $5 million. Thus, many of us should consider incorporating planning vehicles and techniques to minimize or eliminate estate tax liabilities, so we are able to maximize the inheritance to our heirs.
When reviewing your estate plan, the most important factors to consider are how to structure and pass your assets to your heirs and which individual or institution will be responsible for settling your affairs and following your wishes.
Although this may seem overwhelming, we are here to help. Please contact your LCNB trust officer and we will review your situation with you and help coordinate any needed updates to your planning. We do not draft the documents, but we work with your attorney to establish or properly modify your estate plan.
Our mortality is more real than ever before. Taxes are rising and we have more wealth to protect. Now more than ever is the time to review your estate plan to ensure your goals and objectives are fulfilled. Trust me, you will feel much better after you do.