On February 25th, the New York Times published an article entitled Study Estate Plans Before Laws Shift. The author Deborah L. Jacobs, points out what most estate planners have been saying for a while — that there is going to be a new law (hopefully) by the end of 2009. With the lifetime exemption most likely staying at $3.5 million and with people being worth a lot less than they used to be due to the market collapse, the article states that estate planning documents should be reviewed now, to make sure that they still do what they are supposed to do.
It’s important that you contact an attorney that specializes in estate planning to review your documents, to ensure they still “work.” The article discusses concepts that your estate planning attorney should be familiar with, including credit shelter trusts, family limited partnerships, and grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs).
It also points out that it is essential that your beneficiary designations, on your life insurance and 401(k)s and IRAs are properly completed. Your estate planning attorney should be able to assist you with that also.