Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

New decade: Create or review your estate plan right away

With the start of a new decade, people around the country are making resolutions for things they feel will improve life in the upcoming year and beyond. Some people are forgetting one important resolution that can help not only you as you navigate through your future, but can also help your loved ones when you are gone. This is estate planning.

One of the most important things to do is to get your plan legally established. This means taking the time to establish trusts if you are using them and writing out the will, but your estate plan goes far beyond this. You also need to make your plans for end-of-life medical care and your final arrangements.

You also have to think about the tax implications of what decisions you make. Each year, you have a specific limit that you can give to each individual. This provides you with a way to pay down your estate to an amount that won't require your estate to pay taxes.

As you consider your estate plan, think about how you can care for your loved ones in a meaningful manner. For example, a loved one who relies on a needs-based services might not be able to accept an inheritance of cash. Instead, you might be able to provide for them with a special needs trust that is specifically marked as a supplemental support account. Since they don't control the account, the assets in it don't count against their asset limit for those services.

Ultimately, your estate plan must reflect your plan for yourself and your assets. Once you have this set for 2020, you can leave it alone until you review it next year to see if it is still reflective of what you want. Of course, if you have any major life changes, you will need to review the plan before next year.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
1607 N.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

Toll Free: 888-779-8837
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