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Reasons to review an estate plan in 2018

Ohio residents who have an estate plan need to review it in the near future. This is true regardless when it was created, as a result of changes to federal estate tax laws. In 2018, the exemption has roughly doubled from what it was in the prior year. Very few meet that threshold. As a result, some estate plan tools that were created to minimize the impact of this tax may no longer be necessary.

Of course, this doesn't mean that there is no reason to regularly review an estate plan. For instance, some people may prefer to give money to their grandchildren or want to make sure that only certain children get specific assets. The use of a trust can customize an estate in a manner that meets these wishes. Parents may also be able to create trusts to account for any special needs that their children may have.

It is also important to review beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies and update them if warranted. Although using a beneficiary designation may be a good way to transfer property without the need for probate, those designations are final when an individual passes on. It is also important to know that the new estate and other tax provisions will go away in 2025 unless they are made permanent.

Regularly reviewing an estate plan may avoid future inheritance issues and other disputes. Discussing the content of the estate plan documents with heirs and beneficiaries and explaining the reason for them can be important as well. An attorney could be of assistance in this regard.

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