The 2014 draws to a close you are likely preparing for the holidays. That may entail a family get together and celebrations with loved ones…and reviewing your estate plan. At least it should include reviewing your estate plan. The end of the year is an excellent time to conduct a routine and simple review of your existing estate plan for several reasons. Doing so will ensure that your plan continues to protect you and your assets now and provide for your loved ones later.
Your estate plan is a complicated set of legal documents and strategies aimed at accomplishing numerous goals such as protecting and growing your assets while you are alive, protecting you in the event of incapacity, and providing financially for loved ones in the event of your death. Creating your plan is a crucial first step in achieving these goals; however, reviewing and revising your plan throughout your lifetime is an equally important second step. The end of each year provides a perfect time to take a look at your plan each year to see if anything needs to be changed.
The end of the year is when most people sit down and conduct a review of their finances in preparation for tax time around the corner. Your assets, of course, are an integral part of your estate plan, making this the perfect time to review your plan. As you look over your finances you can also make note of any significant changes that would warrant a corresponding change in your estate plan. This is also the perfect time to make sure you have taken advantage of the annual exclusion to gift and estate taxes that allows you to make tax-free gifts valued at up to $14,000 to an unlimited number of beneficiaries. If you planned to gift during the holidays you may be able to gift a little more!
Your end of the year review need not be an in-depth review. An in-depth review is only called for about every three to five years or when events such as a birth, death, marriage, or divorce warrant one. Instead, your end of the year review can simply be a cursory review to ensure that the need for any major changes is not missed.
If you have not taken the time to conduct an in-depth review of your existing estate plan in five years or more, or you have additional questions or concerns about Illinois estate planning in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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