Skip to Content

Year-End Estate Planning Tips

By: Anthony Cetrangelo, Jr.

With our eyes on celebrating the end of 2020, one item to check off your to-do list is a year-end estate plan review. Below are a few top items to review.

Life Events of 2020

The first item to consider is recent life events that are material. Material events are new additions to the family, purchasing a home or additional real properties, hitting the lottery, retirement, and the not so fun events such as, divorce, deaths, or disability. If any of these have occurred or are anticipated, it is time to make sure your plan accommodates these life events.

Selection of Fiduciary

Determining who will administer your estate plan, whether through incompetency, disability, or after death is also an important consideration. Joseph Cleveland, a Senior Vice President and Private Wealth Advisor with FineMark National Bank & Trust in Bonita Springs says,

“Making sure that your choice of fiduciary is still capable, willing, and able to serve in the role you designate is critical and should be reviewed on an annual basis. Also, reviewing your beneficiary designations on retirement plans, insurance products and financial accounts, to ensure that your intended beneficiaries are reflected on these documents is important.”

Litigation can sometimes be avoided by choosing the correct fiduciary for your estate plan. Many people think that choosing a family member is cheaper. But sometimes being cheap can turn expensive. Corporate Trustees may cost a little more upfront, but often times are cheaper down the road, as they are better situated to avoid litigation matters that family member Trustees often times find themselves getting wrapped into due to Trust Administration procedure or other family members pressuring them for distributions.

Tax Law Changes

Additionally, tax law changes both on the federal and state level must be considered; for example, in 2004 the federal estate tax exemption was $1.5M and currently is $11.58M for 2020. Estate Plans drafted to accommodate prior tax laws may not fit with your goals under the current laws.

Get Organized

Finally, make sure that your documents, tax returns, and financial statements are organized and accessible. This will help set up your successor fiduciary for success when managing your estate or trust.

Those needing assistance in estate planning may contact me Anthony.Cetrangelo@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1358.