In 2019, people will need to begin planning their estates with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in mind. The act, created in 2017, has consequences that extend far beyond the simple increase in the overall exemption amount for an estate.
As someone with an estate, one of the worst things you can do is decide not to plan for taxation because your estate seems too small to do so. Regardless of the size of your estate, it is important to plan for its distribution and to make sure you take advantage of any tax breaks possible.
There are nontax issues to address as well, like ways to protect yourself from financial abuse or the depletion of your assets. For each of these things, you'll want to talk to your attorney and financial advisor, so you're prepared as you age.
How often should you update your estate plan?
If you updated your estate plan in 2017 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you may not need to review it again immediately. However, it's a good idea to at least look over the plan you made each year, checking for changes that could affect your estate and your family in the future.
It's also important to review your estate plan annually, because the value of your estate may have grown larger than you thought. Checking on its value gives you a chance to make changes to better protect the assets that you want to pass down to your beneficiaries. If you don't review your estate plan regularly, you may not get the chance to make those changes.