December 6, 2023
As we welcome 2024, it’s the perfect moment to take a look at your estate plan—or if you don’t have one yet, to get started on it. Keeping your plan up to date every year is like making sure your roadmap to the future is always pointing in the right direction. It’s also a great chance to chat with your family or anyone else who plays a part in your estate about your wishes to make sure there are no surprises later on.
Stay on Top of Changes in the Law
Laws change all the time, especially tax laws. While most changes might not touch your estate plan, it’s always smart to have a quick check-up with your estate planning lawyer just to be sure. If you own property or have bank accounts in different states, remember that different states have different rules that could affect your estate.
The amount you can give away without paying tax changes every year. Starting January 1, 2024, you can give away up to $13.61 million in your lifetime or when you pass away without paying tax on it, and married couples can give away up to $27.22 million.
If you made an estate plan recently, make sure all your assets like your house, bank accounts, and stocks are put in your trust’s name (be careful with retirement accounts). Anything new you acquire should also be added to your trust or will. If you haven’t done this or need help, our office can do it for a set price. You can set up a complimentary 15 minute Discovery Call HERE to see if we can assist you.
Making Changes the Right Way
It’s important to go back and look over your estate plan regularly to ensure it’s in sync with legal, personal, and financial changes. Life’s milestones, including marriages, divorces, births, or deaths, may require updates to your asset distribution plans, and even the evolution of your asset portfolio (a house sold; a bank account opened or closed etc.) may call for a review to help keep your estate plan accurate.
But, updating your trust or will isn’t as easy as just writing a note on it. To change a trust, you have to add formal changes that clearly state what’s different. For wills, you need to add a special document called a codicil that follows the state’s rules, which may include having witnesses and getting it notarized.
Starting Your Estate Plan
For those without an estate plan, it’s the perfect moment to begin. Our process at JV Law Offices APC is streamlined for your convenience. Start with a Peace of Mind Planning Session, followed by a Design Meeting to craft your plan, and culminate with a Signing Ceremony in our office or from the comfort of your own home, complete with witnesses and notary services—champagne is optional! Schedule your session HERE.
This blog is our way of making sure you’re clued in and feeling good about this big life shift, with a helping hand from our team. Remember, we’re here to turn the legal jargon into something you can not only understand but use to empower your family. And, while we’re here to guide you through the legal landscape, remember this blog is for general information purposes and not a substitute for legal advice tailored to your unique situation.