Some people are surprised to learn that estate planning is ongoing process, rather than a one-time experience. Because the law changes constantly, estate plans need to be reviewed regularly. Here are our top 4 estate planning law changes to consider for 2019.
1. Trust Decanting: Trust decanting has arrived in California! What has been available in other states for some time has now finally made its way to the Golden State. The legislature has provided a way to change old irrevocable trust provisions. If you have an allocated A/B trust, you can now amend the previously irrevocable B trust. This can be extremely advantageous to avoid capital gains taxes within the B trust.
2. Organ Donation: The statutory Advance Healthcare Directive has now made organ donation the default provision to increase the state’s supply of organs for transplant.
3. Contesting Trusts: New case law has made it more difficult for those not named in the instrument to contest the trust. In the case of Barefoot v. Jennings, the court held that only trustees and beneficiaries have standing to bring a petition to contest a trust.
4. Tax Changes: The Federal Estate tax exemption for 2019 has increased to $11.4 million. The top marginal rate remains at 40%. The gift tax annual exclusion amount remains at $15,000.
If you feel that any of these changes necessitate a change in your estate plan, or if it has been more than 5 years since you have had your estate plan reviewed, be sure to seek the counsel of a qualified estate planning attorney to assist you in bringing your estate plan up-to-date.