Ready, Set, Go! Winning Estate Planning Tips for 2021

Are You on Track for 2021? 

The new year is almost here. What's changed? What hasn't? Our top tips for 2021.


The federal estate tax exemption for 2021 increased from 11.58 million to 11.7 million per individual or 23.4 million for a married couple.

No Change

The annual gift tax exclusion for 2021 remains the same at $15,000.

Top Tips for 2021

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 2021 the year you get that estate plan you've been thinking about.

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 review and update your estate plan. 

3. 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 costs and your state's Medicaid estate recovery. Have the elder law attorney review your existing estate plan. Protecting assets from long-term care costs needs to be started early to avoid the Five-Year Look Back. 

4. Review your beneficiary designations. Do they still reflect your wishes? Can your beneficiaries manage money?

5. Are you concerned about protecting your assets from your child's creditors, or future divorcing spouse? If so, talk to your estate planning attorney about setting up a trust to protect your child's inheritance from creditors and predators.

6. Set up a living trust to protect and manage your property during your lifetime and provide a smooth transition for your beneficiaries later while avoiding probate.  This is especially important if you own real estate in multiple counties or states.

7. If you've already created a trust. Well done! Now's the time to fund your living trust and review everything you own to make sure your assets are titled properly. If you have a trust that has not been funded, it won't help you.

8. 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, make your wishes known, and prevent the need for a guardianship court action if you become incapacitated later.

9. Connect your financial advisor and CPA to your estate planning attorney to ensure everyone is on the same page. 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 2021 and beyond! If you need help putting these tips into action, call 704.887.5242.


Nancy Roberts
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Handling All of Your Family's Estate Planning Needs
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