The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is making a dramatic impact on will drafting, so now is a great time to revisit your will. There are many changes, but one of the most impactful is that the estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping tax lifetime exclusion has been doubled for years beginning in 2018 and ending on December 31, 2025. If your will was drafted before the TCJA was signed into law on December 22, 2017, there is a chance that your estate planning goals will not be accomplished by your current will structure. You may be leaving too much or too little to an intended loved one or charity.
For example, if your will contains a provision leaving your children an amount equaling your available federal estate tax exclusion with your remaining or excess assets going to your spouse, there is a possibility that your spouse will not receive the amount you originally intended her/him to receive when you pass away. This is because the lifetime exclusion amount has increased from $5,490,000 to $11,180,000 per taxpayer. In essence, your children may potentially receive an amount that is twice what you intended when you drafted your will. If your total assets do not exceed $11,180,000, your spouse will not get a dime pursuant to your will.
If you are charitably inclined, there is also a possibility that charities may not receive what you intended under your will. For instance, if your will states that your children will receive an amount equal to your remaining lifetime exclusion and that your remaining wealth should go to named charities, the charities may receive fewer assets (or even nothing), depending on the value of your estate. If the value of your estate is less than $11,180,000, the charities will not get a dime.
As you can see, it is important to meet with your estate planning team to revisit your will and ensure your wishes are still being met under the new law. Insero’s Estates & Trusts Group can work together with you and your attorney to help ensure your wishes are met. Contact us today to learn more about our team and how we can help.