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Estate Planning Awareness Week 2014

Estate planning awareness week is October 20-26, this is when we take the time to remind all of you how important it is to continuously update your estate plan.

Here are some basic steps in estate planning to consider:

  1. Make a listing of your assets or update your list for completeness and accuracy.
  2. Determine and understand the effect of each assets transfer upon death.
  3. Make sure to review and update your will and your beneficiary designation forms.
  4. Legal documents – the main, 3 documents you need are as follows:

-Power of attorney – for both your financial and medical affairs

-Healthcare directive

-Will

  1. Consider taking advantage of the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion this year.
  2. The top federal gift and estate tax is 40% on estates/ (lifetime) gifts over $5,340,000 in 2014 and set to index for inflation here after. Consider how this will affect your estate, and what you can do to minimize your liability.
  3. MN estate tax may be due on estates in 2014 with over $1,200,000 in assets. The MN threshold is set to increase $200,000 per year until hitting a ceiling of $2,000,000 in 2018.  Consider how this will also affect your estate.

Revisiting your estate plan on a regular basis with your attorney and tax advisor can ensure a smoother process for your beneficiaries and can assist in making sure your wishes are honored.  Your advisors can also help you enact strategies so that your estate does not pay any more tax than is necessary.  Take the time to sit down and review your estate; it will be worth it.

“Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes

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