As 2018 draws to a close and 2019 is upon us, it is a time of reflection. As a person takes stock of their life, what they've done and what they wish for the future and beyond, one thing that they may want to contemplate is executing an estate plan. A well-rounded estate plan can protect you and your loved ones should you become incapacitated, and it can ensure your assets will be handed down to your chosen heirs once you pass on.
No one really wants to think about their death. However, death will come to all of us sooner or later. Through estate planning, we can address issues such as inheritances, end-of-life care and more. However, for a variety of reasons, not everyone in Virginia has executed an estate plan. But, they may want to consider doing so, for the benefit of themselves and their loved ones.
Many successful entrepreneurs in Virginia have spent years cultivating a business from the ground up. They may take great pride in their work, and they may have the intention of handing the reins of the business over to their children once they pass away. However, despite these good intentions, many do not have a business succession plan as part of their estate planning portfolio.
No one in Virginia really wants to think about their death, but it is a simple fact that one day we all will die. It may be of some comfort, then, to know that you can determine what kind of end-of-life care you want and who you want to act upon your behalf once you cannot do so on your own. This can be done through a health care directive and a living will.
It is important for people in Richmond to have an air-tight estate plan. This may include having a will or trust (or both), power of attorney for health care, a living will, financial power of attorney and more. An estate plan can be complex. To help ensure loved ones fully understand one's intentions for their estate plan, it may help to draft a letter of instruction. While this is not a legally-enforceable document, it can provide clarity.
People in Virginia may wonder, "Should I have an estate plan?" After all, thinking about one's death is unpleasant, and some people may want to avoid making the tough decisions that must be made in the estate planning process. Moreover, when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was passed, it increased the federal estate tax threshold two-fold to $11.8 million. As far as estate planning goes, this means that fewer people will be subject to the estate tax upon their death. Some people may think, then, that they do not need a will or trust, because the estate tax will not apply to them.
Many people in Richmond have had the foresight to see that they have assets they want to pass down to loved ones through an inheritance. Therefore, they may have created what they believed to be a well-rounded estate plan. They may even have executed a trust in order to see that their heirs will not have to deal with the time-consuming and costly probate process. However, life continues to go on even after we die. Our heirs could experience a divorce, an untimely death, a lawsuit, bankruptcy or an incapacitating injury or illness that could affect where their inheritance ultimately ends up.
Whether a person in Richmond is the third generation to inherit the family business, or whether they started their small business from the ground up, business ownership is a difficult but worthwhile endeavor. Business owners will naturally want to see their business grow and thrive, even after their death. Therefore, estate planning is important for those who own a small business.
Most people in Virginia don't anticipate dying young. Unfortunately, it can happen. People develop fatal illnesses; are involved in deadly car crashes; or have their lives cut short in other ways. When the unthinkable happens, what will happen to your loved ones who must move on from their loss?
Many people in Virginia may have heard of the federal estate tax, but may not be entirely sure what it is or if it even applies to them. In fact, under current law most estates do not wind up being taxed when a person dies. And, for those who would pay an estate tax, this obligation may be repealed by 2024 if certain pieces of legislation are passed.