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Estate planning is an ongoing process. You must not only develop and implement a plan that reflects your current financial and family situation, you must also constantly review your current plan to ensure it fits in with any changes in your circumstances.

Of course, with the probability that more estate tax law changes will occur in this decade, reviewing your estate plan regularly is now more critical than ever. You’ll especially want to update it after any of the events in Planning tip 9.

Where Do You Go From Here?

Remember, estate planning is about much more than reducing your estate taxes; it’s about ensuring your family is provided for, your business can continue and your charitable goals are achieved. So even if the estate tax is permanently repealed, you will want to have an up-to-date plan in place.

Planning tip 9

4 More Reasons To Update Your Estate Plan

  1. Family changes. Marriages, divorces, births, adoptions and deaths can all lead to the need for estate plan modifications.
  2. Increases in income and net worth. What may have been an appropriate estate plan when your income and net worth were much lower may no longer be effective today.
  3. Geographic moves. Different states have different estate planning regulations. Any time you move from one state to another, you should review your estate plan.
  4. New health-related conditions. A child may develop special needs due to physical or mental limitations, or a surviving spouse’s ability to earn a living may change because of a disability. Such circumstances often require an estate plan update.

To this end, use the estate planning checklist on the next page to identify areas where you need more information or assistance. Or jot down a few notes about things you want to look at more closely and discuss with a professional advisor. It may be easy for you to put off developing a detailed estate plan or updating it in light of changes in tax law or your situation. But if you do, much of your estate could go to Uncle Sam and this could be very hard on your family.

So please call us with any questions you have about the strategies presented here or how they can help you minimize your estate tax liability. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation and show how we can help you develop and implement an estate plan that preserves for your heirs what it took you a lifetime to build.

Estate planning worksheet

If you have any questions about the topics covered in this guide, or if you want more information on how they relate to you, please fill out this worksheet and mail or fax it to us. We will be happy to help you with these or any other questions you may have about your estate planning strategies.

Estate Planning Needs Evaluation

Please check all boxes that apply to your situation.

Do you have an
estate plan in place?

Yes date last reviewed:

No, but I would like to develop one
I need help with: Understanding our tax laws
Writing my will
Selecting an executor and trustees
Establishing a living trust
Valuing my estate
Reducing estate taxes
Creating a family limited partnership
Transferring property
Creating a buy-sell agreement
Planning for a subsequent marriage
Planning for a noncitizen spouse
Determining the role of life insurance
Planning for community property
Updating my estate plan

I would like to learn more about the following estate planning strategies:
Gifting as a technique for transferring wealth
Setting up a trust for my heirs
Creating a succession plan and transferring ownership of my business
Making taxable gifts
Giving to charity
Implementing generation-skipping transfers

My greatest estate planning concern/need is:
Learn about, and plan with, DM Kennedy & Associates as you embark on the above life-planning processes. Contact us today!

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