Changed Laws Open 6 Estate Plan
& Why You Should Revisit Your Plan
Law changes have created incredible estate planning opportunities for
savvy Americans. However, the massive changes may have made many estate
If you haven't created or reviewed your estate plans in light of these
new rules, you may be at risk of…
disinheriting your spouse (because of an outdated trust or estate
- Failing to take
advantage of a temporary tax window (just through 2025)
your loved ones by leaving Uncle Sam too much of your hard-earned money
- Forcing your
loved ones to liquidate their inheritance to pay taxes (because IRA
All because your will, trust, or estate plan hasn't been updated to
reflect the new laws.
Right now, you've got a limited window (just until Dec. 31, 2025 or maybe
sooner if lawmakers take these opportunities away) to take advantage of the
possibilities introduced by recent laws.
Inside, you'll find new opportunities and changes that may put estate
strategies at risk... PLUS a simple checklist to help you clarify your situation and the next
steps you should take.
MAKING THE MOST OF NEW
OPPORTUNITIES (AND AVOIDING THE NEW PITFALLS)
1. DON'T ACCIDENTALLY DISINHERIT YOUR
Plans created prior to 2017 often included formulas based on old federal
estate-tax exemption amounts (as low as $675,000 in 2001).1 A
consequence of an outdated strategy could accidentally pass your entire estate
to children or heirs, leaving your spouse with nothing.
Your next step: Do you have a outdated estate strategy that
could leave your spouse or loved ones at risk?
2. YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE CAN GIVE DOUBLE
Current laws doubled the federal estate and gift tax exemption through Dec.
31, 2025 (it's $12.92 million per person or $25.84 million per couple in 2023
but is scheduled to return to 2017 levels soon).2 Savvy Americans
are taking advantage of the higher limits to revisit old estate strategies and
make gifts before the deadline expires.
Your next step: Do your estate plans take advantage of the
temporary (substantially higher) estate tax exemption?
3. LEVERAGE ADVANCED TRUST STRATEGIES
Recent law changes opened the door to advanced trust strategies that could
potentially help you immediately cut your income tax bill, protect yourself
from lawsuits, and create multi-generational tax shelters while giving you
control over your assets now and in the future.3
Your next step: Does a trust make sense for you?
4. REVISIT YOUR POWER OF ATTORNEY
When the estate tax exemption was lower, it made sense to give a trusted
agent the power to make financial gifts (to avoid estate tax). Today's much
higher estate tax exemption means you might need to reconsider giving someone
else too much control over your money.
Your next step: Does your current Power of Attorney include
the ability to make financial gifts?
5. RETHINK YOUR "STRETCH" IRA STRATEGY
If you planned to leave your IRA or 401(k) to children or grandchildren who
would "stretch" the distributions across their lifetimes to create a
multi-generational legacy, you'll need to think again. The 2019 SECURE Act
killed the stretch IRA by forcing most non-spouse beneficiaries to withdraw
(and pay taxes on) the full value of an inherited IRA or 401(k) within 10 years
of inheritance.4 If you have one, you MUST take action now to update
Your next step: Does your estate plan include a stretch
6. A TRUST MAY NOT BE THE RIGHT
BENEFICIARY OF YOUR IRA
"Pass-through" or "conduit" trusts were common ways to protect assets while
allowing heirs the benefits of an inherited IRA. Recent laws removed many
benefits to making trusts beneficiaries of IRAs. If you have one, you MUST take
action now to update your strategy.
Your next step: Is a trust the beneficiary of your IRA?
CRITICAL QUESTIONS TO ASK:
TAKING CARE OF YOUR LOVED ONES
Are you currently making
gifts to your loved ones? If your lifestyle is secure,
giving children or grandchildren the gift of an education, down payment, or
other milestone can be immensely fulfilling.
Do you have a will? Has it been reviewed within the last 2-3 years?
Have you named beneficiaries for each of your accounts? Do any need
to be added or removed? Common reasons for updating include:
marriage (or divorce), death, and the birth of a new child or grandchild.
Have you recently married or divorced?
Do you have a blended family to consider?
Is there a charity that you would like to include in your
strategies? Important! There are a number of charitable giving
strategies that can help you give tax-free gifts to the causes you care about —
and potentially reduce the taxes you pay now.
Do you need to protect any beneficiaries from life issues, such as
divorce, addiction, or creditors?
Do you have any children with special needs or disabilities to
Do you have wishes for how
you want your gifts to be used by your loved ones?
If you have minor children, have you named guardians or personal
representatives? Are they up-to-date?
Is keeping your affairs private important to you? Avoiding
public probate and keeping gifts private is important to many people we've
Have you shared your wishes with your loved ones?
Are you concerned about family dynamics around inheritance?
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Do you have strategies to protect your hard-earned money from creditors
or lawsuits? If you have multiple properties, hold significant wealth, own a
business, or work in a lawsuit-plagued industry, your strategy should protect
what you've built.
Do you have advance directives to protect your wishes if you are unable
to advocate for yourself?
- Does your Power
of Attorney need to be updated?
- Does your
Health Directive still reflect your wishes?
Is your spouse or family member capable of taking over financial
responsibilities if you no longer can?
Do you have a list of accounts and login information that's easily
- Life Insurance
- Credit Card
- Social Media
- Other Digital
PROTECTING YOUR HARD WORK
Do you own assets that are not included in your current estate plan?
Do you own assets in multiple states or countries?
Do you own a business? Do you have succession plans in place?
Are you using all the tools available to you to help protect your assets now
and transfer them in the most tax-efficient manner?
Do you understand the role life insurance can play in transferring your
assets tax-free to the next generation?
YOU DON'T HAVE TO CREATE YOUR
If you've ever dealt with the estate of a loved one, you know that it's a
complex and often trying process. Getting it wrong means leaving your loved ones
with a complicated mess and potentially owing Uncle Sam a lot more than you
Calling in a team of professionals means your roadmap isn't left to
chance includes tools you will need (as well as all the things you
wouldn't have thought of without help).
Whether you are already working with an attorney or would like help taking
the first step, we'll help you drill down in your financial circumstances and help
you have the confidence and clarity you need to make the right decisions.
We will also help you follow through on all the boring (but absolutely
critical) details s of making sure your wishes aren't just documented, but
actually are working in the way you intend.
Many forward-thinking folks do the hard work of creating an estate
plan to protect their loved ones…but they're not professionals and miss
And suddenly, all those great intentions can go right out the window and
Uncle Sam steps in to make the decisions.
Or worse, the laws change. Estate and tax laws have undergone radical
changes multiple times in the last decade. Do you think they'll change again in
It's a good bet.
You might be thinking that your estate plan is already taken care of with a
will and beneficiaries. That only the super-wealthy need advanced strategies
and trusts. But you might be surprised to see how much more you can leave to
the ones you love (and keep from paying Uncle Sam) by structuring your legacy
the right way.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for
specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific
tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS),
member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Kestra Advisory
Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS or Beacon Financial
Group. Beacon Financial Group is a member firm
of PartnersFinancial. Beacon Financial Group is
affiliated with Kestra IS and Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS are not
affiliated with PartnersFinancial. Neither Kestra IS nor its affiliates provide
legal or tax advice. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the
author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment
Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. Kestra Disclosures Beacon Disclosures