Orsbon & Fenninger, LLP

Estate Planning and Estate Administration

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Estate planning involves more than avoiding taxes

One of the things that President Trump campaigned on was eliminating the federal estate tax. This has made a number of people wonder if they will need to bother with creating an estate plan if the estate tax is abolished.

However, many people don't have to worry about the federal estate tax right now anyway because of the federal estate tax exemption, which in 2017 is $5.49 million per person and twice that for married couples. Additionally, there's more to estate planning than just taxes. Estate plans can allow people to determine how they want their assets passed on and whom they want them passed on to.

Further, estate planning documents can also confer the right for trusted individuals to act in a person's stead or make choices for them when they cannot. Medical powers of attorney give agents the ability to make choices about the type of medical treatment the principal should receive, and this can be essential if the principal is incapacitated or not in a mental state to make these decisions.

Even if people do not currently have to worry about an estate tax, they should still create an estate plan to ensure that their assets are passed on in accordance with their wishes. However, once an estate plan has been created, people should be aware that it may need to be updated to stay current with family and financial circumstances as well as changes in the law. They may want to meet with their attorneys periodically to conduct a review of the documents.

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