Have you reviewed your estate planning documents recently?
Have you done any estate planning?
According to AARP, 81% of those 72 or older have estate planning documents. However, only 58% of the baby boomers (ages 53 to 71) have done some estate planning. Younger adults are less likely to have planning in place. 78% of millennials (ages 18-36) and 64% of Generation Xers (ages 37-52) do not have any planning in place.
The concern for those who have done planning is that with the passing of time, things change. Having current documents will benefit those who need to assist you or handle your affairs upon your passing.
Do you remember who you have as the agent or agents to act on your power of attorney? For example, if you have named your spouse as the first agent to serve and then a child as a back-up agent on a power of attorney, if your spouse is now incapacitated, the child may need to prove that the incapacity has occurred. It would be better if you did a new power of attorney and named the child as the primary agent.
We have had problems with some companies that don’t want to accept powers of attorney that were signed years ago. More than this, the laws have changed over time and what the documents say is the most important thing. Too many people believe that just because they have a document that says it is a power of attorney, that it will allow the agent to do anything the agent wants or needs to do. The Kansas Statute relating to General Durable Powers of Attorney has a list of 14 items that cannot be done under a General Durable Power of Attorney unless they are specifically listed. It is crucial that you understand what you do and don’t want to allow the agent to be able to do.
Drastic changes were made to the Federal Estate and Gift Tax laws, both in 2013 and then again at the end of 2017. If you are married and your trust was done prior to 2013, you really need to have it reviewed as the focus of most trusts prior to 2013 was on estate tax and now that estate tax is not a concern for 99.75% of the public, it may create problems for capital gains to become an issue in your planning. Further, there may not be a need for two trusts, which was the typical plan when estate taxes were the primary concern that was being addressed.
Let us know if you would like for us to review your existing plan or if you need to get some planning in place. Contact our Wichita office at 316-729-0100 for assistance with all of your estate planning needs.