Possible changes ahead in estate tax laws

Georgia residents who have created an estate plan with a strategy that aims to minimize federal estate tax might want to review that plan in case the estate tax is repealed. While its future is uncertain, thinking about a strategy now will allow people to make changes quickly if the repeal goes into effect with little notice.

People might have set up a generation-skipping trust in order to reduce the value of the estate. They would then fund this trust with the maximum allowable as a generation-skipping tax exemption. A marital trust might hold additional assets.

There might be changes to the generation-skipping tax exemption or to gift taxes instead of or in addition to the estate tax. If any of these changes occur, adjustments to the plan could result in savings.

Whether or not people are concerned about estate tax, estate planning can be important to ensure that they are able to choose what happens to their assets. It is also important for making contingency plans in the event of incapacity. People might be injured or become ill and be unable to make their own health care or financial decisions. A health care directive appoints someone to manage medical decisions while a living will can specify a person's wishes for end-of-life care. For example, a living will may specify whether a person wants to have an intervention like a feeding tube. A power of attorney appoints someone to manage financial affairs. Estate plans should also be reviewed regularly because other changes besides estate tax laws, such as births and deaths in the family, could result in the need for alterations to the documents.

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