With Republicans in control of Congress and the presidency, there is talk of eliminating the federal estate tax, which in 2017 affects estates over $5.49 million. This begs the question: With no estate tax, do you still need a trust?
A once-popular estate planning tool may now cost families more in taxes than it saves. Changes in the estate tax have made the “bypass trust” a less appealing option for many families.
Is your family of the “Leave It to Beaver” variety — opposite-gender parents, the first marriage for each, one or more kids, all healthy and thriving? If so, your estate plan will probably be pretty straightforward. But if not, it’s not as simple and you have a lot of company.
If you are in the hospital, the last thing you want is for a family member or a trusted friend to be denied information about your condition or prognosis.
Unlike money, personal belongings usually cannot be divided equally after their owner passes away. For this reason, distributing items like furniture, jewelry, dishes, silverware, artwork, photographs or clothing is often the most difficult challenge in settling an estate.
A recent court decision in Minnesota serves as a cautionary reminder to anyone thinking of changing their estate plan on their own.