With a rather jarring title, the Kiplinger.com article, “Is Estate Planning Dead?” voices a question some have asked in light of reports that before the election, the incoming president-elect was considering ending what he referred to as the “death tax.” Just as we discussed in “Think Before Changing Investments Because of an Election,” you need to think about abandoning sound financial practices based on what you hear about politics. Changes that may affect your financial planning are on the horizon but you don’t know just what will change. If you move money or alter your estate planning in anticipation of a law changing, you may find that you made a move without sufficient knowledge.
A Fee-Only financial planner can keep you informed of upcoming changes to tax law that may affect you.
And for those of you who imagine you don’t need to start estate planning if things are going to change, Kiplinger.com notes that:
“…while estate planning for the ultra-wealthy currently focuses in part on minimizing estate taxes, true estate planning for the rest of us is about much more.”
Since “Estate taxes aside, a well-drafted and thought-out estate plan should deal with multiple issues that can have a lifetime impact on future generations…” it makes sense to have an estate plan.
Estate planning isn’t just about passing on money. It is also about passing on values and helping others (through philanthropy) and deciding just how resources are distributed. You can decide if you want requirements for your beneficiaries, such as waiting until a certain age to access funds or directing its use. If you have a business, an estate plan can outline issues of succession. If you are concerned that income tax could whittle down what your beneficiaries receive, an estate plan may address some of these concerns.