Owning a vacation home can create complicated family estate and income tax issues. Planning for the transfer of the family cottage requires a series of thoughtful steps. The cottage can be any vacation home and, whether it's a ski chalet or condo, waterfront property or hunting land, all have financial and emotional ties to a family.
Revisiting your Estate Plan by reading a thick binder of legal documents is not exactly someone’s idea of a fun activity for a Sunday afternoon. However, in general we encourage our clients to review their Estate Plan documents on a regular basis, which may be accomplished in just a few minutes by reviewing the Outline and Flowchart included in your final package. A regular basis can vary from every year for clients with more complicated tax issues to once every 10 years for others.
A change to your family situation generally requires you to review what is currently in place. Some changes are more obvious than others. However, divorce or death of a family member or named fiduciary in your documents, like a Trustee, will definitely trigger the need to review your documents. As your children get older, we often find that the distribution provisions get outdated because of their maturity, or lack of maturity, or other personal issues. If you haven’t reviewed your Estate Plan which was drafted over 5 years ago, it’s time to sit down and review not only the documents but also the titling of assets and beneficiary designations.
We are able to work with you and your advisors to put together a suitable estate plan meeting your current and future needs, tax and personal objectives. We are aware that some of the more difficult decisions take time to internalize. Knowing your options helps our clients make an educated decision.
• 2019 TAX CHANGES
• DIGITAL ASSETS
• BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING
• ADULT CHILDREN / PLANNING ISSUES
2019 TAX CHANGES
Since many of the estate tax changes are no longer temporary, various key numbers may change annually based upon an inflation adjustment. For 2019 the annual gift tax exclusion remains at $15,000 per person, per donee, while the federal estate and gift tax exclusion amount received a small bump up of $11,400,000 for 2019, per person. The exclusion is scheduled to drop to approximately $6,000,000 in 2026. As a result, most clients no longer have estate tax planning needs, but this does not mean that planning is not needed. How your assets are owned, beneficiary designations and other intricate situations will impact your loved ones upon your death.
David de Reyna recently gave a seminar and published an article regarding the status of your digital assets. Digital assets include your Facebook account, iTunes, e-mail, passwords and other personal items which you can’t put in a box and give to someone. So much of our lives currently involves a computer server farm somewhere which may be difficult to access upon your death or disability. Contact David if you are interested to learn more about how to protect your digital assets.
BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING
Jeffrey Sternberg has participated in a number of the firm’s forums discussing business succession planning. If you own a business, either family owned or non-family owned, succession planning should be reviewed and discussed with your team of advisors. A sudden death or disability can paralyze your business without a plan in place. Banks, suppliers and customers each have their own issues because of the lack of planning. Can your business survive if you become seriously ill?
ADULT CHILDREN / PLANNING ISSUES
Wills and Trusts are not one size fits all. Each family has their own set of distinct issues which require experienced, thoughtful planning to accommodate your own goals and objectives. Fluid situations may require tweaking estate planning documents for non-tax reasons. One of the most difficult situations which we encounter is how to provide for an adult child who has mental illness or dependency issues. Realizing there is a problem is typically the initial but difficult first step.