Florida residents may feel as if they don’t need to update their estate plan because nothing has changed since they created it. However, it is unlikely that literally nothing has taken place in the years or decades since a will, trust or other document was first drafted. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in a significant change to the tax code, and that alone may be enough to review how an estate plan is currently structured.
It is also important to consider that life events such as a marriage or divorce could have a significant impact on an estate plan. The same could be true in the event of a birth or death in the family. Individuals who have seen their net worth go up over the last several years may also want to review their estate plan to make sure that this wealth has been accounted for.
In addition to changes in federal tax laws, changes to a state’s tax laws could have an impact on an estate plan, although Florida doesn’t have a separate estate tax. However, these changes could be made without a lot of fanfare, which means that an individual may not know about them. Therefore, it is important to have regular meetings with financial advisers and other estate planning professionals to stay abreast of these potentially significant developments.
Those who want to keep their estate tax bill to a minimum may want to seek legal help when constructing an estate plan. Working with an attorney may also make it easier to review the plan as life events or tax code changes occur. An attorney may suggest creating a trust, using beneficiary designations or taking other steps to minimize estate taxes owed. Following this advice may allow more money to be distributed to beneficiaries.