It is a good idea to review your will and/or trust every 3 years to make sure there haven’t been any law changes or family changes that require changes to your estate planning documents. The main change in the tax law that needs to be considered for estate planning purposes is the change of the estate tax exemption to 5.25 million. If you created your will or trust back when the exemption was lower, the will or trust might contain a bypass trust to the plan to use both your exemption and your spouse’s exemption. With the exemption so high, this may no longer be necessary.
There are other advantages to having a bypass trust in your will or trust. One of those is making sure that your assets go to your children when your spouse passes away instead of going to their new spouse or their children. If you have a bypass trust in your will or trust, I would love to meet with you to discuss if that is still a right choice for your family.
The other change is portability of the unified credit between spouses. This allows you to take advantages of both spouses’ ability to transfer 5.25 million to someone other than the spouse without the necessity of a bypass trust. The surviving spouse must file an estate tax return making this election.