Death. As they say, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Since death is coming, let’s look at it logically. Say to yourself, “There will come a time when I am not here for my loved ones. Let me leave them a road map for who will be the responsible persons at my death to carry out my wishes.” Done. It’s a gift that only you can give.
You now find yourself in a time where Congress is considering changes to the estate and gift tax structure. You are worried about what changes they will make and when they will make them. You are in a period of indecision. You think, “I can’t possibly put a plan in place until I know what Congress is doing.” Wrong. You must put a plan in place as soon as possible.
Stop and take a breath. Consider what you can control. You can create the road map for your loved ones. If you don’t, your state law will dictate who will be responsible and who will receive your money. None of this depends on Congress.
How Do I Create a Road Map for an Estate Plan?
Simple. Ask yourself and answer the following questions.
- Who do I want to make financial decisions for me if I am unable to manage my affairs while I am living?
- Who do I want to make healthcare decisions for me if I am unable to make them myself?
- Who do I want to be in charge of the roadmap?
- Who do I want to be in charge of helping my loved ones on an ongoing basis if needed?
- Who do I want to care for my minor children?
- Who do I want to inherit from my estate?
These questions create the framework for your roadmap. You are naming trustworthy people and giving them a broad range of powers to manage your affairs in accordance with your wishes, the law, and your circumstances when you are not able to.
You will fill the framework with guidance regarding the way in which your loved ones or charities will inherit. You don’t have to have all the answers. Your attorney can help you think about the options and keep you on task to a completed plan.
No one has that crystal ball. No one knows what Congress is going to do, what your assets and liabilities will consist of, what your family situation will be, if you will be disabled for a long time, or if you will live a long, long life. However, there is great relief in knowing you have your affairs in order.
While Congress moves through its people and politics, you can be proactive. Put a plan in place or update your plan to match your current goals. With this base roadmap in place, you can be ready.
Create or Update Your Estate Plan Today
Your estate plan consists of living documents. You can change them. You should revisit your estate plan every couple of years. Your planning is not scary. Having no control over what happens when you are disabled or after you have died without a plan is truly frightening.
Whether it’s time to update your existing estate plan or thinking about getting started with one to plan for your future, reach out to Moye White today. With offices in Denver, Atlanta, and Basalt, we have the resources available to help you protect your assets.