Unfortunately, it seems that every tax season we learn that a client’s spouse passed away and there was no will. Perhaps the plan was to have this matter done at a later date.
Let us assure you that if you do not have a will (or some other form of estate planning), there is no better time than today to get started on your estate plan. You do not want to have your grieving spouse’s life to be further complicated financially and emotionally because no estate plan was in place. Spending a couple of hours thinking about your estate plan may help you avoid costly mistakes and unintended consequences. Topics of discussion you should consider having with a very good estate planning attorney are creating or reviewing your will, the need for revocable and/or irrevocable trusts, durable power of attorney, advance medical directives, and living wills (health care proxy). Talk to your accountant also as the sophistication of your estate plan will be impacted by your financial wealth. If you are self-employed, you should have a valuation study done to determine the value of that business.
If you already have an estate plan in place, consult with your estate planning attorney if you have relocated to another state, you have married or have been divorced, you have a new child born or adopted, the value of your estate has substantially changed, or there are beneficiary changes that need to be made due to deaths or births. Any of these events could be a signal that you need to revise your estate plan.
Some persons are under the misconception that their will covers all inheritances. That is far from being correct. For example, if you own insurance policies, IRAs or other retirement plans, the named beneficiaries in those policies and plans govern how those monies are distributed. Thus if your employer’s insurance coverage and pension plan have listed as a beneficiary your divorced spouse from a marriage that ended many years ago, your current spouse is not going to enjoy learning that you left nothing to her/him and the ex-spouse received everything.
If you want to discuss your business or personal tax planning, tax preparation and other financial concerns with an experienced tax professional, we invite you to call 610-594-2601 today to make an appointment at our Exton PA CPA office to discuss your situation. You can also schedule a consultation at Click Here.