» Estate Planning Attorney Suggests Estate Planning At All Income Levels

Estate Planning Attorney Suggests Estate Planning At All Income Levels

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) June 27, 2013 – Estate planning is widely seen as a smart move for higher income households, but individuals at all income levels may benefit.

The close of 2012 was unusually busy for estate planning attorneys as they worked with clients to implement new or updated estate plans in advance of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), to be enacted January 2, 2013. The ATRA was expected to reduce gift and estate tax exemptions to $1 million, but it ended up not reducing exemption amounts after all.

“Regardless of the amount of your estate, your estate plan guides your wishes for your family," said Palo Alto estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix. “It is particularly important if you have a larger estate.”

Currently, the federal tax on estates is triggered at $10.5 million for a couple, and $5.25 million for an individual, but estate planning experts caution that even much smaller estates should have an estate plan. That is especially true for people who designated their assets via a will or trust years ago and have not gone back to review and revise their documents, people who have divorced or divorced and remarried, and parents with children born to them since their last estate iteration.

Estate planning, regardless of the size of the estate, includes: designating a guardian for any minor or dependent children; placing an inheritance into a trust for a child who has substance abuse or spending problems; updating the beneficiary of a retirement account or insurance policy; developing Advance Health Care Directives in the case of incapacitation; long-term care planning for nursing home stays or chronic illness; developing a Special Needs Trust for a dependent adult child; and drafting or updating a will and/or a revocable living trust to protect the privacy of one's assets.

The new estate tax amounts are currently being called "permanent," but that does not mean they cannot be changed again. President Obama recently released a budget proposal which would bring the “permanent” exemption level back to $3.5 million in 2018, while increasing any exceeding asset tax rates from 40 percent to 45 percent.

To learn more, visit Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP at http://www.gilfix.com/.

Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP
2300 Geng Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 493-8070

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