Stacey Fielding, Partner
More often than not, when I sit down with a new client to talk about their estate plan, they admit that the task has been on their “to-do” list for quite a while. It’s one of those items that is constantly on people’s minds, but frequently relegated to the back-burner in favor of what folks deem to be more pressing matters. In reality, however, there are few items as important as executing an estate plan to protect your family.
In most cases, the consequences of failing to sign a Will, Revocable Trust, Power of Attorney and Living Will are far wider reaching than most people realize. Clients assume that what seems like the most logical outcome must be what the law dictates, even without a Will or other necessary documents in place. In many instances, however, this just is not the case. And irrespective of the legal ramifications, the failure to sign, or update, estate planning documents will undoubtedly create additional delay and expense for your surviving heirs at a time when they are already overwhelmed and emotionally distraught.
Going into 2019, we expect to see many reasons to reevaluate your estate plan. With big changes to the federal estate tax in our rearview and the possibility of the resurgence of a New Jersey estate tax, it’s never been more important to implement a flexible plan that will optimize tax planning for your family. Many plans that haven’t been revised in years impose inefficient or ineffective results or create adverse tax consequences given the recent changes in the tax code. As we wait to see what New Jersey will do in the estate tax arena, there’s no question that flexibility and creative planning are key items to incorporate as we move into 2019.
So, if you have delayed signing or updating a Will or other estate planning documents, now is the time! Make your resolution for 2019 be one that will protect your family and loved ones for years to come while giving you peace of mind for a healthy and happy 2019.