As I write this a New Tax Law has just been passed. After spending over 5 hours reading about the new law, the one thing I know is that like all laws whether or not you can benefit from any tax law is based upon your ability to find help in knowing how to make the law work best for YOU! The estate tax exemption (the amount of money you can pass to your heirs without an estate tax), has doubled; but that provision will sunset in 2025, and no one knows what will happen then or when the Democrats are back in control. However, we do know that this new law has opportunities for people who take advantage of the new rules. For those of you who are married and have a Trust older than 2013, you are overdue for an update. Trusts created prior to 2013 had provisions in them to save estate taxes that you most likely don’t need, and if you do have an estate over 4 Million dollars you really should make sure that your Trust is up to date, so that you will save taxes.
For those of you with more modest estates who would not have to worry about estate taxes with the current exemption of 5.493 million dollars, you still need to make sure you have a Trust and it is up to date. You don’t want your loved ones to go to court for an expensive probate because you failed to plan. Most importantly as we age, it is important that we plan for what happens when we don’t die. If you are unfortunate and end up with Alzheimer’s, have a Stroke, or Parkinson’s or ALS, or another disabling condition and need attention around the clock, you need a plan so you don’t run out of money before you die, so you don’t become a victim of Elder Abuse, and so your family is not forced to go to court to take over your financial affairs.
With all the changes in the law and in your life, it’s time for you to call an attorney who understands the new laws and knows what you need to do in 2018.
Martha Patterson is a California Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, and Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. She focuses on Elder Law, Asset Protection and Estate Planning. She is a Member of NAELA; Past President of Southern California NAELA. Featured on CNN, Good Morning America, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and radio stations KABC, KNX, and KKLA. She overcame incredible objections and enabled Kerri and Julie Kasem to visit their dad radio host Casey Kasem. She is a frequent lecturer for NBI, and is a at MCLE events, and public forums.