How to estate plan after recent tax changes

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the federal estate tax exemption to $11 million for individuals throughout Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. Married couples can combine their individual exemptions to protect up to $22 million in assets. Therefore, estate planning may no longer be about tax efficiency for some people. However, it is still a good idea for individuals to engage in estate planning to help create and preserve their legacies into the future.

Those who have an estate plan should make sure that it still meets their needs. For instance, estate holders could review beneficiary designations or the terms of any trusts. As a general rule, it's important to have an estate planning attorney work with a financial adviser before making final decisions. This often makes it easier for an investor to work their financial goals into the broader context of their overall estate plan.

Generally speaking, it is never too early or too late to begin estate planning. It might be wise to create a will or trust as well as power of attorney documents. These documents can help an individual retain control over financial or other assets while incapacitated or after passing on. Wills, trusts and power of attorney documents may be as broad or as narrow as an estate holder wants them to be.

Meeting with an estate planning attorney on a regular basis may be worthwhile for anyone with an existing estate plan. Doing so could make it possible to update beneficiary designations or determine whether a trust or other estate document is still necessary. If an estate plan needs to be altered in any way, an attorney can help make those changes in accordance with state law.

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