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How the tax law may affect some estate plans

Since tax reform passed in December, some people in New York might want to revise their estate plans to reflect the change in estate tax. While this is a change that will only affect very wealthy people, even those who do not need to worry about estate tax may want to review their plans. It is a good idea to look over a plan periodically and make sure it is still consistent with a person's goals, assets and relationships.

There is no longer any estate tax on estates worth less than $11.2 million, and the threshold for married couples is $22.4 million. People whose estates were previously subject to estate tax might have designed their estates to reduce or avoid this tax, so they may want to change those plans. Married people may want to make sure their estate plans have the right language to ensure portability.

Regardless of the worth of the estate, a person might want to go over an estate plan to make sure the documents are prepared correctly. This may include making sure that the language for powers of attorney is specific enough that the agent does not have the ability to do certain things such as cut off financial support to a loved one, change beneficiaries on accounts or mismanage assets.

People who are reviewing their estate plans might also consider whether there are additional documents they need. For example, many estate holders neglect to prepare for who will manage their financial and medical issues if they become incapacitated. An individual may also want to make sure that their estate plan reflects changes in the family such as births, deaths and marriages. A lawyer could help with this process.

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