Often people think that once they have a will or trust, the task is done. As long as their heirs are the same, nothing really needs to change and updating is unimportant. The reality is that updating is important like everything else in life. Laws change, finances change, families change and our understanding of how to plan for our families better changes. These changes can affect how well your planning works. And you want it to work well when you need it. So plan well and update your planning at least every five years. Some may need it more often. Don’t spend good money planning only to have it fall apart over the years and not work well when you need it.
Starting in 2015, the IRS has announced that the unified estate and gift tax exclusion amount has been increased to $5.43 million. Further, the announcement indicated that the amount an individual can give annually will remain at $14,000. Any gift in excess of that amount to an individual will require a gift tax return and a reduction of you lifetime exemption available to you.
On December 16th, the Senate approved the earlier action of the House in approving many tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Now waiting for the President to approve. Among the provisions extended is the ability for those individuals over the age of 70 and 1/2 to provide tax-free charitable contributions from an IRA of up to $100,000 per taxpayer, per tax year. Great provision and a real benefit to charities.