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How to handle changes to the estate tax

If the federal estate tax is repealed, it may have implications for the estate plans of California residents . At the very least, it may be a reason to review any existing estate plan documents that an individual may have. To account for estate taxes, some have chosen to create exemption trusts that hold the exemption amount or generation-skipping trusts to take advantage of that exemption as well.

It is thought that there won't be a lot of time for people to react to any tax reform that takes place. Therefore, the time to ask questions is now. Taking steps to tweak an estate plan now may result in significant savings if changes to estate tax law results in greater exemptions or a repeal of the tax entirely.

Those who have questions or concerns about their estate plan may wish to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review estate plan documents to determine if they reflect the needs and final wishes of their creator. If any changes need to be made, an attorney may be able to help make them in accordance with state law. If changes are made improperly, it could result in one or more components of the plan being challenged in court.

Anyone who has an estate plan may benefit from having it looked at by legal counsel regularly. This may make it easier to determine how changes to the estate tax code or other changes to the law may impact the effectiveness of a given will or trust. Having an estate plan periodically reviewed may also decrease the possibility that an individual forgets to update beneficiary forms or make other necessary updates as life events unfold.

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