Page 12 - Means Wealth 2020/2021 Perspectives
P. 12


             1.  Be sure you have named a suitable and responsible personal
               representative, executor or trustee. It is very important to name
               fiduciaries that you can trust considering their age, maturity and level
               of financial knowledge. You should periodically assess who you have
               appointed, as circumstances and relationships change.
             2.  The rationale behind distributing assets can change over time. For
               example, you may have set up a trust for your children whereby upon
               the death of you or your spouse, a certain amount of assets would
               be distributed to them at certain ages, say one half at age 25 and the
               assets, those assets could be  “
               other half at age 35. When the
               child reaches the stated age,
               they may not exhibit financial
                                               We are what we repeatedly
               responsibility. In addition, if
                                                do. Excellence, then, is not
               they marry and co-mingle their
               equitably distributed upon       an act, but a habit.    “
                                                             – Aristotle
               a divorce. You may want to
               periodically rethink how assets
               within a family should be distributed. One child may be very financially
               set, while another struggles. Equal distribution may have been the
               goal initially, but circumstances change. These are a few factors you
               may wish to consider when reviewing your estate plan. Consider a
               review every five years after age 50.
             3.  Be sure your family’s advance health care directives, consisting of your
               health care power of attorneys and living wills, are in place. This will
               ensure your health care representative can make informed decisions
               regarding your family’s care.
             4.  Accumulation of wealth can create estate tax issues. Current federal
               law allows each citizen to transfer a certain amount of assets free of
               federal estate and gift taxes. This is referred to as the “applicable
               exclusion amount.” In 2020, every citizen may, during their lifetime
               or death, transfer assets valued in the aggregate of $11.58 million
               per individual or $23.16 million for married couples. This is over and
               above the annual gift exclusion per individual of $15,000.
             5.  Each state has its own estate and income tax laws. Some states are
               common law property states and others are community property
               states. Simply stated, common law property means that assets and
               debts you acquire during a marriage are yours alone unless otherwise
               indicated by a title or other legal document. Community property

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