The Tax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017, doubled the estate tax exemption. So nobody needs an estate plan any more right? Unfortunately not. This doubling is not slated to last forever, and depends highly on who is in control of congress when the bill sunsets in a few years.
You should look at this instead as a window to make changes that could save you millions. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should review your estate plan with an attorney.
- Did you get married or divorced?
- Did your spouse pass away or become incapacitated?
- Are there any new children in your family?
- Did any of your beneficiaries have any of the above changes in their family, or do they have any new financial problems?
- Are your designated fiduciaries still able to fulfill their roles?
- Did you sell or buy any significant assets?
- Did you move to a new state?
- Did you retire?
To speak about any of these changes with a responsive, qualified attorney, click or call today.
You are 26, or 34, or 45. You are with your friends, or your significant other, or your children, enjoying yourself. A car hits you, or you only fall down, and you can no longer talk or speak or move. You may or may not be conscious. Even if you open your eyes, you aren’t there, yet you are still alive.
For years your relatives come into the room where you lay, a tube stuffed down your throat, blinking away the seconds, day after day. Finally, they remove the tube but don’t give you pain medication. They are sure that you can’t feel what is happening. You sit there and blink and starve until you are gone.
This living hell is regularly reported on and fought over in courtrooms and Congress, and you can avoid it all with a simple piece of paper. The famous example of this is Terri Schiavo, a vibrant 26-year-old who collapsed at home, suffering massive brain damage:
An advance directive is a document that tells the doctors what you want when you can’t tell them yourself.
It is simple enough to fill out an advance directive without guidance, but making sure it is effective and followed is another matter entirely. Here in the East Bay it is possible to file them with many major hospitals like Kaiser in advance, but a large number of doctors and nurses ignore advance directives because nobody filed them correctly. Many doctors, absent an advanced directive, will do anything to keep you alive. I for one want them to stop short of anything.