THE MIRROR OF MEDIA

Why You Need to Revisit Estate Plans


Planning ahead for end-of-life issues includes doing estate planning with a will and a trust as assets might dictate. But just as important is keeping those plans up to date. The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys recommends reviewing plans every three to five years. It’s also a good idea to review the trust around major life events: births, weddings, deaths, and moves.

For example, my parents have had a trust for many years. As their place of residence changed, they had their trust re-stated with their new state of residence, from Maryland, to New Mexico, and, in the latest update, to Florida. A residence is a place you live for a time. They changed the domicile, the state that the trustees consider their permanent home.

You cannot have more than one domicile in estate planning. The state in which one is domiciled makes a difference when it comes to probate procedures and tax implications.

Florida has no state income tax, meaning Social Security retirement benefits, pension income and income from an IRA or a 401(k) are all untaxed. Florida has no estate or inheritance tax. Making the domicile change from New Mexico to Florida provided numerous tax benefits.

In my own case, my husband and I have no kids. So, we set up our trust in 2017 to use the services of a particular bank to carry out the provisions of our trust once we are both dead. I recently found out this particular bank has been bought out by a different bank and trust. This prompted me to take a look at our trust, created by AAEPA member firm Morris Hall and attorney Jim Plitz.

I was glad to see this language as part of the trust, under the heading Change in Corporate Trustee: “Any corporate successor to the trust business of any corporate trustee named under our Trust Agreement, or acting hereunder, shall succeed to the capacity of its predecessor without reconveyance or transfer of trust property.”

To me, that sounds like the new bank and trust would be able to operate under our agreement with the old bank. But I think we need to have a meeting with the new bank and reconfirm the arrangements. It’s also high time we have a visit with Jim to review our estate plans.

Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death educator. One of the first Death Cafe hosts in the U.S., she uses humor, funny film clips, and outside-the-box activities to teach about end-of-life topics. She authored three books on end-of-life issues and coordinates the Before I Die New Mexico Festival. She’s also a Certified Funeral Celebrant and was recognized by Albuquerque Business First with their 2019 Women of Influence Award.

Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
www.aaepa.com

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