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Estate planning changes require new focus

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2019 | Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning in Pennsylvania, there are a number of things people should keep in mind besides having a will and one or more trusts in place. The creation of new asset categories and the passage of new regulations in recent years have changed the estate planning landscape. It has become necessary for estate planners and people doing their own estate planning to broaden the scope of their knowledge and consider issues that were not so important before.

Among the things to keep an eye on are funding for a living trust, the estate tax and account passwords. Once a living trust is established, it still must be funded with assets in order for those assets to avoid probate. With a revocable living trust, the settlor is able to make changes to beneficiaries and trust terms. In order to fund the trust, the title for the assets must be put into the name of the trust.

Many people believe the estate tax is not important to them because it has an exemption of $11.4 million. That exemption is due to drop to $5.5 million in 2025, though, and it could drop further depending on the makeup of Congress. Additionally, digital assets are increasingly important, and people are likely to have a number of different passwords for things like online banking and important devices. It’s generally a good idea to keep passwords in hard-copy form in a book and let heirs know where they’re located.

An attorney who practices estate planning law might be able to help interested parties develop their estate plans or update existing estate documents. He or she might help the client identify and categorize their assets and develop a comprehensive Pennsylvania estate plan to meet the client’s needs and goals. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, estate planning attorneys may then draft a will or trust to effect the transfer of assets.