As the proud stewards of Woods & Bates, P.C. since 1972, serving Logan County, Tazewell County, and beyond, we understand the importance of staying ahead in the world of estate planning. We look forward to continuing the legacy of those who came before us by assisting our clients in their estate planning, real estate, and estate administration needs. Today, we delve into a crucial question: “How often should I review my estate plan in Illinois?” This blog post aims to provide you with valuable insights into the timing and reasons behind estate plan reviews, all in a friendly and approachable manner.
The Ever-Evolving Nature of Estate Planning
Estate planning, like life itself, is an ever-evolving journey. There is no hard and fast rule about when you should review your estate plan, but with new tax laws taking effect, now might be the perfect time. At Woods & Bates, P.C., we understand that changes in tax laws affect everyone, and it’s essential to keep your plan in sync with these changes. While the federal estate tax exemption is currently quite generous at almost thirteen million dollars per individual, without action by Congress, the federal estate tax exemption amount is set to revert back to seven million per person on January 1, 2026. Illinois has a separate estate tax with a significantly lower exemption amount at four million dollars per person. What’s more, this State estate tax system doesn’t offer “portability” to married individuals, potentially leaving your survivors with an avoidable tax liability.
Assessing Your Estate Plan’s Effectiveness
When you embark on the journey of reviewing your estate plan, there are several key areas to focus on to ensure it still serves its intended purpose. First and foremost, take a close look to see if your estate plan is still aligned with your goals. Are your assets set to go where you want them to? Are your loved ones adequately protected, and will they be well cared for? These are the fundamental questions that should guide your review.
Evaluating Your Appointed Individuals
Another crucial aspect of estate plan reviews involves assessing the individuals appointed to various roles in your plan. Are they still capable of fulfilling their responsibilities? Are they even alive? Most importantly, do you still want them to hold those positions? Life circumstances change, and your sister, who may have been your best friend, might not be the best choice to raise your children anymore.
Aligning Your Assets with Your Objectives
Ensuring that your assets are owned in a way that supports your planning objectives is a vital part of the review process. Your estate plan may be carefully crafted, but if your assets are not aligned with it, it could thwart your intentions. Additionally, consider whether you want to make any gifts while you’re still alive as part of your estate plan.
Don’t Set It and Forget It
It’s crucial to remember that an estate plan is not a “set it and forget it” arrangement. Life is dynamic, and so should your estate plan be. Taking just an hour to review your plan with a competent attorney could potentially save you and your loved ones a significant amount of time, money, and effort down the road.
Secure Your Legacy Today
At Woods & Bates, P.C., we’ve been assisting business owners and high net worth individuals with asset collection, protection, and succession for decades. Our holistic approach to estate planning ensures that each plan is tailored to your unique circumstances. With our experienced attorneys by your side, you can rest assured that your estate plan will adapt to changing life circumstances, securing a prosperous future for you and your loved ones.
When it comes to estate planning, timing is everything. With the new tax laws in play and life constantly evolving, it’s wise to revisit your estate plan regularly. Call us at Woods & Bates, P.C., to speak with a lawyer in Illinois at 217.735.1234 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.