Happy Holidays & Farewell, 2020!

The holidays have arrived and the new year will be soon upon us. Safe to say, many of us are ready to say goodbye to 2020!

As you make your list of plans and goals for 2021, it may be time to put an estate plan in place or revisit your existing plan. We are able to meet via videoconference, from the safety of your home. And we can assist you with remote signing of documents. Contact us to discuss how we can help you in 2021.

Execute Documents Online Remotely

We will soon be able to assist clients in executing their estate planning documents without meeting in person through use of remote online notary (“RON”), which will soon be available by the Indiana Secretary of State. Our team will take steps to have this service available to our clients as soon as it is available from the Indiana Secretary of State. Remote online notary will allow us to serve as remote online notary witnesses, and notarize documents virtually, without an in-person meeting.

Please contact my office with any questions. We’re excited to be able to offer this service to clients at this time of public health crisis and social distancing.

Estate Planning During Coronavirus & Social Distancing

During this frightening time, we are all reminded of life’s unpredictability and the need for estate planning.  I utilize technology to virtually meet with clients, via videoconference or teleconference.  You can work with us to get your estate plan in place now, from the comfort and safety of your home, without in person meetings.

Key documents all Indiana adults should have in place, at any time, but especially during a time of health risk:

  1. Last Will and Testament. In its most basic form, your Will provides for you to direct the distribution of your assets titled to your name individually upon your death and appoint a person (or persons) to administer your estate upon your death. If you die without a Will, assets titled in your individual name may be subject to intestate administration.
  1. Appointment of Health Care Representative. Also called Health Care Proxy and Health Care Power of Attorney, this document provides for the appointment of a person (or persons) to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself.
  1. General Durable Power of Attorney. In your General Durable Power of Attorney, you name a person (or persons) to make financial decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.
  1. Living Will. Your Living Will allows you to state your preferences regarding end of life decisions in the event of an incurable illness or persistent vegetative state.

Happy New Year – 2019 Estate & Gift Tax

Happy New Year!

Now, time to talk taxes!  The 2019 tax changes are:

  • The Estate and Gift tax exemption rate is increased (adjusted for inflation) to $11.4 Million per individual in 2019.  This is an increase from $11.18 Million per individual in 2018.
  • Planning together, in 2019, married couples can transfer a total of $22.8 Million in inheritance or gifts without paying gift or estate tax (subject to prior use of the credit).
  • The annual gift exclusion amount is unchanged from 2018.  It remains at $15,000.

Remember, the tax law that ushered in these increased Federal Estate Tax exemption amounts expires at the end of 2025.  Talk with your accountant or attorney to see if you could benefit from taking steps before 2026 to utilize the tax exemption.

Estate Planning Under New Tax Law

With the new tax law, and the Federal Estate Tax exemption at more than $11 Million per person, the question arises: Is Estate Planning Now Dead?

The answer is without question: No, estate planning is certainly not dead!  Planning is as important as ever.  The change in tax law merely provides an opportunity to focus on other priorities, including providing for care and protection of minor children, determining the right decision makers, and achieving charitable and family goals.  The list of planning considerations is as diverse and as unique as each individual, and the for those who no longer planning around the Federal Estate Tax, this is a great opportunity to make sure other planning objectives are achieved.

Inheritance Tax in Indiana

Good news for Hoosiers doing their estate tax planning: Indiana does not have an inheritance tax.  Indiana previously had an inheritance tax, but it was repealed in 2013.  Thus, there is no Indiana Inheritance tax for those who die after December 31, 2012.

Indiana is in good company.  The majority of U.S. states do not have Inheritance Tax.  However, Federal Estate Tax and other taxes remain and are important considerations in planning your Indiana estate.

Do You Have A Will?

If the answer is “no,” a recent survey shows that you are not alone.  Only 4 in 10 American adults have a will or trust in place.  While older Americans are more likely to have a plan in place (81 percent of those age 72 or older and 58 percent of boomers), younger Americans, including those at ages of having minor children, are much less likely to have a plan.  A “a whopping 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) and 64 percent of Generation Xers (ages 37-52) do not have a will.”  See this AARP article for more information about the survey results.

 

Tax Updates for 2017

Happy New Year!  Tax updates for the new year:

  • The Federal Estate Tax exemption amount has increased to $5.49 million per person.  With portability, this means a married couple can collectively transfer just less than $11 Million ($10.98 Mill to be precise).
  • The annual gift tax exclusion amount remains at $14,000 per person.  For a married couple, they can each make a gift of $14,000 to the same individual, providing for a total gift of $28,000 to that person.

Prince – Dying Without A Will?

The recent passing of music legend Prince serves as yet another reminder to get your estate plan in place.  As reported in the press, Prince’s sister has filed papers with the Court alleging that her brother died without a will.  Dying without a will in place is called “intestate.”  You can find my summary of Indiana’s intestate laws, here and here.  The intestate laws act as a default estate plan, and very likely may not include all of your intentions.

In Prince’s case, it has been widely reported about his great business abilities and his strong desire to be in control of his music and his public image.  It also appears Prince was generous and was a benefactor to many charitable organizations. If Prince truly did not have a Last Will & Testament (and this remains to be seen), then his great desire for control over his art and his charitable intent will not be realized now that he has passed.  A true loss of opportunity for his great legacy.

For the rest of us, this is a reminder that it is never too early to plan and make sure our intentions will be followed.

Happy New Year!

With 2016 only a few hours away, here’s a look at changes to the Federal estate and gift tax exemptions for 2016.

  • The Federal Estate Tax Exemption amount will be $5.45 million per individual, an inflation-adjusted increase from $5.43 million in 2015.
  • The annual gift tax exclusion amount remains at $14,000, the same as in 2015.

The increase in the Federal Estate Tax Exemption means an individual can leave $5.45 million to her beneficiaries without Federal Estate Tax, or gift tax during her lifetime. In 2016, a married couple will be able to collectively transfer $10.9 million without Federal Estate Tax, or gift taxes during their lifetimes.

Happy New Year!