We will see that there are certain cases that get decided in the courts or certain changes in the law that will really pick up our attention and say, “Hmm, you know we used to do that differently, and now the law’s changed. We’re going to have to go back and contact our clients, and see you know what we can do.”
Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. Probably the biggest change that’s happened in the recent past, is during the 2000s what’s called the “lifetime exemption amount,” the amount of money that you could have in your estate and not owe any estate tax, kept growing and growing. It started out fairly low, it got to an unlimited amount in 2010, and then it dropped back down, and then in 2012, they finally set it at $5 million. It’s indexed for inflation and so now it’s actually a little bit more than $5 million, but the great thing about that is, most people don’t have to worry about estate tax anymore. Most people don’t have $5 million in their estate.
So in situations like that, yes. I will sometimes reach out to clients especially when I see that something is maybe turning to work against them, or, perhaps they had a plan that was maybe a little bit complicated for them, perhaps based on the fact that they had enough money to be taxable when it was set up, and now it no longer is, we might want to simplify their plan for them.
Other things I mentioned in one of my segments here, that the durable power of attorney statute had changed in 2011. That’s something where even though a power of attorney made before 2011 is still valid, as it’s taken out into the public and people look at this, just because it doesn’t look like what’s now coming out, we’re seeing that people are starting to get to the point they’re saying, “Gee I don’t know if this power of attorney is good anymore. You know, can we have an attorney look at that?”
…[M]ost people don’t have to worry about estate tax anymore. Most people don’t have $5 million in their estate.
And people are allowed to do that, to ask for some vetting of a particular document. In that case it probably is less expensive to get a new power of attorney if you can, than to go back and get somebody to say that, “Yes, this older power of attorney is still good.” So yes, there are times when I see what’s going on either in the case law or in the statutes and I’ll get in touch with clients either via personal call or through some sort of a mass marketing thing to let them know something has changed that they may want to look at.
– David Pilcher is an experienced estate planning and probate attorney with Bogin, Munns & Munns, a full service law firm with offices in Orlando, Clermont, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, The Villages, Orange City, Titusville, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Melbourne, Gainesville, and Leesburg, Florida. Mr. Pilcher welcomes questions and comments regarding the above and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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