Are You on Track for 2019?
Here's what's changed, what hasn't changed, and our top tips for 2019.
The federal estate tax exemption for 2019 increased from 11.18 million to 11.4 million in 2019 per individual or 22.8 million for a married couple in 2019.
The annual gift tax exclusion for 2019 remains the same at $15,000.
Top Tips for 2019
1. Get an estate plan if you haven't already done so. Sixty percent of Americans don't have a will. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Make 2019 the year you plan for success and create an estate plan.
2. If you already have an estate plan, review your plan and update it if necessary. Laws change and lives change. If your estate plan is several years old, you moved to a different state, acquired more assets, got married, divorced, had a child, or your children grew up, you should update your estate plan. If you are in your fifties or older, talk to an elder law attorney as soon as possible to determine if you need to protect your assets from long-term care. Protecting assets from long-term care needs to be started early to avoid the Five-Year Look Back.
3. Review your beneficiary designations. Do they still reflect your wishes? Can your beneficiaries manage money? If not, or if you are concerned about your child's creditors, or future divorcing spouse, you should consider setting up a trust to protect their inheritance.
4. Set up a living trust to protect and manage your property during your lifetime and avoid probate later.
5. Fund your living trust and review everything you own to make sure it is titled properly. If you have a trust that has not been funded, it won't achieve its purpose.
6. Make sure your estate plan includes a health care power of attorney and a durable financial power of attorney. These are powerful documents that can eliminate family strife and avoid a guardianship action in court if you are incapacitated.
7. Include your financial advisor and CPA in the loop with your estate planning/elder law attorney. Successful planning is a team effort!
Bonus Tip! - Check your auto insurance policy to make sure you have enough uninsured motorist coverage to cover yourself or a family member if you are hit by an uninsured driver.
I hope these tips will improve your life and ensure that you and your family are healthy, happy, and prosperous in 2019 and beyond! For help with estate planning or long-term care planning, call 704.887.5242.