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Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions for 2020


Making an estate plan should make you feel proud of your accomplishments.  You have stayed healthy and financially solvent into your retirement years.  As your children and grandchildren leave after a holiday visit, which the gifts you generously gave them and the successes you have helped them achieve, look back over the past years and think about the things you have right.  Now, think about the future.  What can you do in 2020 to make your estate plan offer even better protection for you and your descendants?  Your Florida estate planning lawyer will explain the details of these strategies you can adopt or continue in 2020 to make your estate plan even more effective.

Update Your Will

Did anything change in 2019 that would affect your will?  Are you sure?  It is a good idea to review your will, even if you think things are the same as they were the last year.  You might want to modify your will to account for changes such as properties you have bought or sold or grandchildren who have been born since the last time you updated your will.

Transfer Your Assets to a Trust

Assets placed in a trust are not subject to estate taxes.  If you do not have any assets in trust, consider setting one up.  If you already have a trust, meet with your financial planner or your estate planning attorney to discuss transferring additional assets into a trust.  You can have separate trusts devoted to your medical care and to your grandchildren’s education, for example.

Plan for Your Illness, and Then Stay Healthy

One of the most important parts of estate planning, albeit one of the most emotionally challenging, is planning for your medical care in the event that you or your spouse suffers chronic ill health and needs long-term treatment or assistance.  Transferring funds into a trust to pay for your care in a nursing home or assisted living facility or to pay a home health aide is only part of the process.  You must also choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare if needed.  The more specifically you outline your wishes, the less the chances that this person will make a decision that conflicts with them.  You should sign a power of attorney document or advanced health directive naming the responsible person; it could be a family member or lawyer, whoever you trust the most with this responsibility.  The fact that it is so scary to think about being chronically ill is all the more motivation to continue taking care of your health.

Enjoy the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion

The annual gift tax exclusion is arguably the most fun part of estate planning.  In 2020 you can give up to $15,000 each to as many people as you want, within reason, and neither you nor the recipient will have to pay taxes.  Now get to daydreaming about what your family members will do with your generous gifts.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

Even if you have done everything right, life is full of changes, and it is always a good idea to review your estate plan at the beginning of a new year.  Contact Clearwater estate planning attorney William Rambaum to discuss your questions.




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