June 03, 2024

Spring Cleaning 2024

With the start summer, now is the perfect time to do some “spring cleaning” to get your financial records and estate planning documents in order. These are some things you can do to get ready for the year ahead:

• Check the contact information on file with each of your financial institutions and make sure your address, e-mail address and preferred phone numbers are up to date.
• Update your passwords – changing these from time to time helps to keep your private information protected. Also important is having an organized method of keeping track of your passwords to avoid locking yourself out when you need password-protected information.
• Check your TOD and beneficiary designation forms. Consult with your attorney if you think changes may be necessary to adjust to your current situation or ensure that each one coincides with your estate plan.
• Review your asset titles. Be sure to consider any new property you may have acquired and whether it needs to be titled to your trust, for example. If you are married, titling can also be used to strategically divide your assets for estate tax portability purposes, discussed below.
• Make sure your “trusted contacts” are current. These are people your financial institutions can reach out to for your protection should capacity become an issue. If you have not designated a trusted contact for your Great Plains accounts, please give us a call.
• Check to make sure your estate-planning documents are in order. You should generally review your Plan with your attorney every 5-10 years. However, your attorney may recommend a different time frame for your unique situation, and you may need to call your attorney sooner if certain changes, to your family or tax laws, for instance, have occurred.

In getting organized for 2024, you may also want to keep in mind some key changes to the tax code this year:

• The lifetime exemption increased to $13,610,000 per individual, or 27,220,000 for married couples.
• The lifetime exemption amounts are scheduled to decrease to $5,000,000 (plus an adjustment for inflation) on January 1, 2026 unless Congress takes action prior to then.
• Portability, the ability to transfer a deceased spouse’s unused exemption amount to the surviving spouse, remains in effect for 2024. This is a use it or lose it scenario. If you are married and your assets are sufficient, you should begin planning for the proposed drop now.
• The annual federal gift tax exclusion amount has increased by $1,000 to $18,000, or a combined $36,000 for a married couple, for 2024.
• The age for beginning required minimum distributions (RMDs) from qualified retirement plan accounts is now age 73 (for those turning 72 after December 31, 2022). It will be 75 for 2033 (for those turning 74 after December 31, 2032). You should speak with your plan administrator or financial advisor about how these and other changes to the RMD rules may affect you.

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