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Year End Estate Planning Updates, Part 4

In part four of this series on year end estate planning, we’ll look at other things to consider when reviewing your plans. In part one, we discussed what documents to review as well as what questions to ask yourself. It is important to make changes according to any major life events that may have occurred over the course of the last year.

Review Your Plan | Estate Lawyers in Cary NC

Our estate lawyers in Cary NC previously discussed the annual gift tax exemption, which allows you to give up to $14,000 per person (or double the amount for a married couple) without paying taxes on it. It is a great way to reduce a large estate so that your future beneficiaries won’t have to pay estate taxes when your estate is distributed upon your death.
Now let’s take a look at a few other things to consider when reviewing your estate plans.
Charitable donations
We often see commercials and advertisements for charities at the end of the year. It’s not just because it’s the holiday season and that’s when people are more open to giving donations. It’s also because you can take advantage of tax breaks by making donations before the end of the year. A charitable donation is exempt from the gift tax we mentioned in part two, but it can be deducted from your income tax. A donation does not have to be monetary. It can be assets such as household items or vehicles.  By making a donation you save money on capital gain taxes you would pay if you sold those items. In addition, the charity does not have to pay taxes either.
Insurance policies, including life, property and disability
Although insurance policies are not generally included in estate planning, while you are reviewing your other documents, you can update those plans to reflect any changes. They are not covered under your estate plan, so it’s important that you have designated beneficiaries. You can talk with your estate lawyers in Cary NC to make sure everything is in line with your planning goals.
Changes in law
The estate planning laws can change every year, so you may want to check with an estate planning lawyer to see if any of them apply to you. Staying current on changes can help you in the long run. Changes may affect how you are taxed, or how your plans will be carried out upon your death. Meeting with an attorney who can review your documents and answer your questions can help ensure that you have made the best plans for your assets and that your estate will be protected.
Where to keep your documents
After reading this three-part series, you are probably ready to review your documents and make changes so that you can go into the new year confident that everything is accurate. Once everything is finalized and current, you will need to make sure your documents are safe and secure. You can keep your documents in a fire safe cabinet, but make sure members of the household or your spouse knows where it is. If your documents are not easy to locate it is going to be difficult to have your wishes carried out.
That wraps up our four part series on year end estate planning. If you feel overwhelmed, call our estate lawyers in Cary NC with any questions.
As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about estate planning. Also contact our estate lawyer to schedule a consultation if you have yet to start estate planning. It's never too early to make plans for your wishes upon death. In addition, our lawyer is here to help you with all your legal matters, whether it be estate planning, small business, trademarking, copyrighting, or DWI issues.

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