There are a number of threats that can change or even destroy estate plans. Three of the biggest current threats to estate plans include family conflict, market changes, and tax laws. These threats were articulated after a survey was conducted by TD Wealth at the annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.
By understanding what these challenges to estate plans include, a person can better recognize the dangers that exist when creating a strong estate plan. With an appreciation of these risks, a person with the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer can also begin to implement solutions to solve these problems.
# 1 – Family Conflicts
A large number of estate planning experts acknowledge family conflicts as one of the biggest factors that can impact estate planning. These conflicts can include difficulty in selecting a beneficiary and not communicating plans with family members. As the number of blended family in the United States increases, it is likely that the rate at which family conflicts occur will also rise.
To reduce the risk of having an estate plan impacted by family conflict, it is a good idea to invite everyone in a person’s family to participate in a discussion about how estate planning goals will be reached. Through open communication, a person can also often explain to family members why a certain appointment was made. This degree of honesty greatly helps to avoid any hard feelings after a person’s death.
# 2 – Market Changes
Market changes can greatly impact estate plans. A person should create gifts in an estate plan so the individual has enough assets to adequately support themselves no matter what type of market changes might occur.
Although many people decide to wait until the end of the year to make a gift from an estate, it is often a better choice to make these gifts earlier in the year to avoid any sudden changes that occur with the market. It is also often a wise idea to gift assets after the value of the items being gifted have declined.
# 3 – Tax Reform
Changes in 2017 led to a significant revision to the case code in the United States, which had a substantial impact on estate planning. With increased gift and estate tax exemptions, there are a number of new strategies that are being implemented to take advantage of these exemptions.
One strategy is to understand the importance of trusts, which can be used to pass assets to loved ones. Trusts can also use to protect against a number of other factors including younger adults who might not be able to handle money responsibly.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer
Even if you create a successful estate plan, there is still a risk that unexpected changes could substantially impact the way in which your estate plan ultimately works. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer to update your plan or have questions about the current status of your estate plan, contact the Ettinger Law Firm to schedule a free initial consultation.