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Updating Your Estate Plan When Your Finances Change
- December 18th, 2008
In the recent economic downturn, many homes have lost considerable value and stock portfolios have plummeted. If this is the case for you, do you need to change your will? What if your income and assets have increased significantly? If your finances have changed markedly since you wrote your will, you should check your estate plan to see if you need to make any changes.
If your will or estate plan divides your estate into percentages for beneficiaries, then changes in value won't affect how your estate is distributed. However, if you include specific bequests in your will, a fall or rise in your estate could have consequences. For example, if your estate plan gives $50,000 to your favorite charity and the rest of your estate to your children, a reduction in the value of your estate could mean your children won't get as much as you intended.
A change in value of assets could also affect your estate plan if you intended to treat your children equally by giving them assets of equal value. For example, suppose your will gives your house worth $500,000 to your daughter and your stock worth $500,000 to your son. If the value of either the house or the stock portfolio increases or decreases significantly in value, your children will no longer receive equal gifts. It is also important to update your estate plan if the overall nature of your assets has changed. For example, if you sold the stock and bought real estate instead, this will affect the distributions to your children.
In addition, if your estate has significantly increased in value, it is important to reassess whether your estate will be subject to estate taxes. In 2008, estates worth more than $2 million are subject to federal estate taxes. In 2009, estates subject to federal taxes must be worth more than $3.5 million. After that, it isn't clear what the estate tax will be, so it is important to be prepared for any eventuality.
To find a qualified attorney to assist you, click here.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Judith Mtinick is well known for acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee or agent on behalf of clients or by court appointment. This experience gives her a wide perspective and extensive practical knowledge that she uses when advising clients in drafting their planning documents. Her experience, as a court appointed...
Felinton Elder Law & Estate Planning Centers
Mindy Felinton concentrates in the areas of Medicaid planning, Veterans' Benefits, asset protection, nursing home planning, elder law, wills, estate planning, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, probate administration and trust administration and began her legal career 30 years ago as an Assistant State Attorney...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...