End-of-Year Estate Planning Checklist

December 16, 2022

We’re inching ever closer to 2023. As the clock ticks by, 2022 dwindles to a close, and all our New Year’s Resolutions become front and center. But, our team believes you shouldn’t completely write this year off year yet.

It can be easy to mail it in during the month of December and just coast through the holidays, but there are a few items you should consider knocking off your estate planning to-do list before we get to 2023. After all, setting yourself up for success in the new year could be the boost you need to focus on all your biggest goals of the new year. Let’s explore a checklist you can sit down with an estate planning attorney to check off before the year comes to a close.

Match Your Plan With Your Goals

The very first version of your estate plan is unlikely to be the final version of your estate plan. Ultimately, your estate plan should be fluid and change as your life changes and as your goals change. So, are you able to say with confidence right now that your estate plan is working in lockstep with your goals?

This is a great time to take another look at your plan – especially if you’re hoping to make some big changes in 2023. Of course, an estate plan shouldn’t change every single time you make a little change in life but it should certainly reflect reality. Are you hoping to provide more for your children? Did you welcome a new member of the family in 2022 that needs to be accounted for in some fashion? Did you buy a home or are you on the verge of buying a home? These and other questions could be important factors when updating your plan.

Reflect Any Recent or Upcoming Legal Changes

Florida does not have an estate or inheritance tax, but one of the transitions you need to be aware of is the federal lifetime estate tax exemption. This will increase to $12,920,000 for individuals, or $25,840,000 for married couples in 2023 – up from $12.06 million and $24.12 million respectively. These exemptions are historically high and will continue to go up until a scheduled decrease in 2026.

Florida made adjustments to certain trust laws which went into effect this summer, as well. Trusts are now allowed to exist for up to 1,000 years. This may seem to be unnecessary, but a trust that can pass through generations and generations of your family could mean your legacy survives well after you’re gone.

Another notable change for married couples is how the state handles Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs). These trusts allow spouses to transfer assets to each other in the form of irrevocable trusts. Previously, if the spouse receiving the assets through the trust passed away the assets would be exposed to the creditors owed by the receiving spouse. Now, Florida law protects the spouse giving the assets by allowing them to become the beneficiary of a SLAT in the event that the receiving spouse predeceases them.

Keeping up with changes in your life and your plans along with changes to the law can be imperative for a thorough estate plan. At Schlegel Livingston, we can help you match your plan to these changes and make sure you’re heading into 2023 on the right foot. Contact our firm and allow us to help you through life’s most important moments.