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On behalf of Richard A. Lewis posted in Estate Planning on Monday, October 24, 2016.

Once you have created an estate, you’ll want to give it a check-up every couple of years. This means that you should go over all of your estate documents with an attorney to make any changes because of changes in your life. If you transfer assets into a trust, you may need to change the time when those assets transfer, or you may need to change the amount.

Lifestyle Changes

You’ll need to make changes to your estate documents to reflect lifestyle changes such a new baby, a child that left home, a death in the family or the death of a friend that may have been a part of your estate, or the sale or purchase of real estate and assets. You may also want to change beneficiaries because of those changes, or because of personal reasons.

Medical Advancements

Every year, medical care becomes more advanced, and that means people are living longer. This also means that you may become incapacitated during your lifetime. Should this be the case, you should have your estate set up so that you are taken care of should there come a time where you cannot manage your own affairs. A California estate planning attorney helps you draft the specific documents needed to transfer assets to the appropriate trusts if you are not able to handle your own affairs.

State Inheritance and Estate Taxes

Many states have separate inheritance or estate taxes. Some states have both. As of 2016, California does assess either taxes on your estate. However, estate tax laws are always changing. If you update your estate documents every couple of years, the Law Offices of Richard A. Lewis will be able to let you know if California’s state estate taxes have changed; and will advise you on the best changes to your estate documents because of the taxes.

You also have to work with federal estate taxes. As of 2016, the exemption is $5.12 million per person or $10.24 million per couple. If your worth is greater than the exemption, a California estate lawyer will be able to advise you how to set up your estate to best benefit your heirs.

Consider Setting Up a Trust

Trusts are not just for the super rich. Even those with a modest estate benefit from trusts. A trust might help you reduce or avoid taxes in generation-skipping inheritances, will help keep your assets safe when you cannot manage your affairs, can hold money for minors so they won’t be able to spend it all at once, will help keep family members from eroding funds, and will protect your assets from former spouses and creditors.

Contact the Law Offices of Richard A. Lewis

Contact the Law Offices of Richard A. Lewis to set up an appointment for an estate check-up or to create a new estate if you do not have an estate.

Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/01/04/make-a-new-years-resolution-to-give-your-estate-plan-a-checkup-2/#32fb69647cf0, http://taxfoundation.org/blog/does-your-state-have-estate-or-inheritance-tax, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2015/10/22/irs-announces-2016-estate-and-gift-tax-limits-the-10-9-million-tax-break/#2495f4c16a7c, https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-15-53.pdf

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