Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C.’s Richard Morgan discusses estate planning and balancing today’s wishes with tomorrow’s tax results on Business RadioX with John Ray. Listen now!
If you think estate planning is only for the wealthy, you couldn’t be more wrong. There is only one efficient and cost-effective way to control how your assets are distributed when you can no longer do it yourself and that’s an estate plan, according to Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C.’s Richard Morgan. Business RadioX recently interviewed Morgan to discuss estate planning and the coming tax changes that will affect estate plans.
Estate planning done right can allow you to control your assets when you are not able to do it yourself – due to disability or death. Morgan, who founded the Alpharetta-based estate planning firm, believes estate plans can allow you to take significant steps to take care of those you love without significantly changing the way you live today.
Consulting an attorney who has deep expertise in tax law can also give you a plan that balances today’s wishes with tomorrow’s tax result. Morgan, who began his legal career in the broader field of tax law, always considers the tax implications for both his client and those who are inheriting his client’s assets before he makes a single recommendation.
Tax Changes Coming in 2022
Normally, estate planning shows up again and again on “to do” lists but never quite gets done until there is a triggering event, such as having children, going on a big, overseas vacation, a medical emergency, divorce or other significant life change. Now, there is even more reason to move that task to the top of the list.
Federal lawmakers have signaled a coming tax law overhaul as early as January 2022. Even more radical tax law changes are currently being discussed in Congress, which provides a greater incentive to act even sooner. You likely only have the rest of this year to take steps to effectively utilize the temporary portion of the exemption from the gift, estate and generation skipping transfer taxes. These exemptions are likely to be cut by 50% or more by the end of the year.
Making Estate Planning a Top Priority
Estate planning is critical if you want to control your assets when you can’t otherwise oversee the process yourself due to disability or death. Forgoing the planning process leaves your heirs or other loved ones to seek resolution through a court-based system, which routinely leads to larger legal bills, frustration, and, in some cases, fractured families.
While you are alive, estate plans delineate who will make decisions related to financial matters (Power of Attorney) and to health care (Advanced Directive for Health Care) if you are not able. The plan may also establish a Revocable Living Trust if you need one, but not everyone does.
Business owners’ have additional estate planning concerns, including business succession, liquidity issues, and asset protection.
If you are part of a blended family, estate planning becomes even more critical if you want to benefit both your spouse and your children. For example, if you pass your assets outright to your spouse, then you will have no assurance, beyond trusting your spouse, that your children will eventually receive any inheritance at your spouse’s death.
Parents with a special needs child who will likely not be able to earn a living want to be sure the child is provided for throughout his or her lifetime. Parents can use a supplemental needs trust as part of the estate plan to allow the inherited assets to enhance the special needs child’s quality of life while still qualifying to receive any available means-tested government benefits.
Beware of the Web
While everyone needs an estate plan, there is no one-size-fits-all estate plan. That’s why downloading a formulaic plan from the Internet can come with hidden surprises – especially for the non-attorney. Morgan, who has reviewed several of the forms available on the web, points out that most people are new to estate planning and they don’t know what they don’t know. For example, a non-attorney consumer will not be aware of what beneficial provisions are missing from an online form.
Morgan recommends starting your estate planning journey today! For those that may eventually have an estate tax liability, the end of the year will be here before you know it. To better understand what’s involved in the estate planning process, refer to the Estate Planning Guide on the Morgan & DiSalvo website, www.morgandisalvo.com. The guide features a list of frequently asked questions and offers resources, such as articles and videos, grouped by question.
For a complimentary estate planning consultation, contact Morgan & DiSalvo at 678-720-0750.