The New Year: Time to Review Your Estate Planning
As we approach the New Year, all families in DuPage County should recognize that it is the perfect time to consider estate planning issues or to review your estate planning documents. You may have developed your estate planning documents earlier this year, or you may have drafted estate planning materials years ago without considering updating those materials until now. Since you last considered estate planning more generally or created documents, laws have changed and your own personal circumstances may have changed.
We want to discuss some important estate planning issues that you should consider revisiting for 2019. No matter what changes you need to make, an Oakbrook Terrace estate planning lawyer can assist you.
New Tax Law Implications for Estate Planning
The first major change to the law that could have implications for your estate planning strategy is the new tax law that took effect in 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) raised the federal estate tax exemption. Between 2017 and 2018, the estate and gift tax exemption went up to $5.6 million per person from $5.49 million. As such, starting in 2018, a person can leave up to $5.6 million to family members without it being subject to a federal estate tax. Married couples who jointly leave an inheritance to their heirs can double the amount, meaning that up to $11.2 million can be exempt from federal estate tax. The federal tax exemption does not result in a change to the Illinois exemption, which is $4 million for an individual.
For most DuPage County residents, this particular change to the law will not result in a change to an estate planning strategy given that the Illinois exemption remains the same, but it is important to discuss with an estate planning lawyer.
Births and Deaths in the Family
Over the last year, did you or someone else in your family give birth to a child or adopt? If there is a new member of the family, it is extremely important to consider how the child will fit into your estate planning goals. You may need to amend your will to include the child as a beneficiary. In addition, if you are the parent of the child, you should consider naming a guardian for the child in the event of your death.
Deaths in the family can also result in changes to estate planning documents. For example, you may have named a person in your will as a beneficiary — or even as an executor — who is now deceased. That person also may be named as a beneficiary of other assets, such as your life insurance policy. If that person is no longer living, you will need to amend your will, as well as other beneficiary documents. You should also take these issues into consideration if there is someone who is seriously or terminally ill who plays a major role in your estate plan.
Changes in Family Relationships
Did you get married or divorced this year? Did one of your children get married or divorced? Both marriage and divorce can play a significant role in estate planning. If you were married, it is important to consider revision your will and the list of beneficiaries on your insurance policies and pension plans to name your new spouse as a beneficiary. Likewise, if you got divorced, you will likely want to remove your ex-spouse as a beneficiary.
If you have children who recently got married or divorced, you also may want to change your will or other documents to reflect who will inherit your assets and who will be listed as a beneficiary on your insurance policies or pension plans.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer in Oakbrook Terrace
The dedicated team at Farooqi & Husain Law Office regularly assist Muslim clients in Oakbrook Terrace and throughout DuPage County with a wide variety of estate planning matters. An experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or by calling us at 630-909-9114.