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Trusts still serve a purpose even after new estate tax laws

When it comes to estate planning, New York residents might have questions about the need for some of their carefully laid out plans now that the new tax laws that almost doubles the estate tax limit came into effect. Having trusts and the need to update them might be questioned. However, it is now more important than ever to do an overall review of estate plans to make adjustments to accommodate the new tax laws.

Trusts serve as protection, and avoiding estate taxes was never the sole purpose of establishing trusts. They allow people to keep control of their assets -- even after death. A trust can ensure that a person's children receive their inheritances in specific ways at predetermined times. It gives a person an option to jump one generation, and the deceased can exclude individuals that he or she does not want to share in the assets.

Other reasons for establishing a trust may include protecting the special needs of a child with autism or another condition, or in cases of multiple marriages or non-traditional relationships, ensuring one's assets go to the right people could be controlled via trusts. Avoiding probate and the state's interference remain a valid reason for establishing a trust. It can ensure the direct transfer of a bank account, property in other states, a stamp or art collection and other assets to a beneficiary.

While updating trusts and other estate plans to accommodate the new estate tax laws, it might be a smart move to make sure all the beneficiaries of insurance policies are still relevant along with the designated powers of attorney. It is wise to review those because their circumstances might have changed, creating the need to consider different people for those purposes. Reviewing entire estate plans might seem daunting, but the support and guidance of an experienced New York estate planning attorney can ease the process.

Source: reuters.com, "Your estate plan needs an update, even if it is new", Beth Pinsker, Jan. 18, 2018

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