It is hard to believe, but we are already in the last days of 2016. For some, 2016 and its bruising presidential election will not be missed, while, for others, the uncertainty of a new presidential regime in 2017 raises numerous concerns. Either way, you will want to consider taking important estate planning steps while we are still in 2016 to prepare for the years ahead. Here are just a few issues you will want to consider yet in 2016.

A New Administration Could Mean Wildly Unpredictable Markets

Whatever your opinion on President-elect Trump is, there are two major financial principles to keep in mind as a new administration steps into the White House: 1) there is likely to be very different economic policies than the ones we have grown accustomed to these past eight years, and 2) it is very difficult to say what those policies might be and what effect they will have on your retirement and estate planning.

President-elect Trump campaigned on making drastic changes to our nation’s trade policies, healthcare funding system, immigration policies, and personal and business taxation policies. Each one of those separately could have a huge effect on our economy, but the specifics of those policies and what will actually occur are very open questions. In the eight years since President Obama took office, the Dow Jones has more than doubled to record highs; what will happen in the next four years is very difficult to say, but there are estate planning choices you can take to adjust your level of risk and stability to meet your personal and family needs.

Act Now to Max Out Charitable and Personal Gift Giving

Under our income and gift taxation systems, you must make charitable and personal gifts in a given calendar year to take advantage of any tax benefits for that year (as opposed to certain types of retirement contributions which can be credited until tax filing day). Thus, if you want to explore the benefits of a charitable gift through a Charitable Remainder Trust or some other type of estate planning instrument, the time to act is now if you would like to obtain those benefits for the 2016 tax year. Similarly, you may consider maximizing your annual $14,000 gift tax exclusion per recipient before the year is over.

Give Your Family the Gift of Financial Security

No matter what time of year it is, it is always a good time to take estate planning steps, but the end of the year can be an especially good time to take these steps, as family members often congregate for the holidays. Whether you want to update your estate planning or take the first steps to provide for your family’s future, the holidays can be a time when you think about and confer with those closest to you in your life regarding what you can do to protect them both now and when you are gone. Whether discussing issues such as powers of attorney and advanced healthcare directives or wills and trusts that name family members as beneficiaries, the holidays are a good opportunity to have face-to-face conversations about the steps you have taken for their benefit and how you can work together to build a secure future.

Plan for Tomorrow With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Today

Thomas Ledbetter at The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC is dedicated to individuals and families plan for their futures through all aspects of estate planning. Contact The Ledbetter Law Firm, APC to see how you can begin creating or updating an estate plan that incorporates the needs and goals of you and your loved ones.

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