Broker Check

Estate Planning Checklist

| March 14, 2023

Do you have a will?

A will enables you to specify to whom you want to inherit your property and other assets. A will also enable you to name a guardian for your minor children.

Do you have healthcare documents in place?

If you cannot make medical decisions, healthcare documents spell out your healthcare wishes. They also authorize a person to make decisions on your behalf if necessary. These documents may include a living will, a power of attorney agreement, and a durable power of attorney agreement for healthcare. RMR Wealth Builders has developed a network of attorney relationships focusing on estate planning documents. Contact your financial advisor if you are looking for an estate attorney.

Do you have financial documents in place?

Certain financial documents can outline your financial wishes. If you cannot make decisions for yourself, these financial documents can be structured to empower a person to make decisions on your behalf. These documents may include joint ownership, durable power of attorney, and living trusts. RMR Wealth Builders utilizes the client vault on eMoney. This provides clients with a centralized location for all their important financial documents.

Have you filed beneficiary forms?

Sometimes, naming a beneficiary for bank accounts and retirement plans makes these accounts "payable on death" to your beneficiaries. You must fill out a "Payable on Death" form in other cases. Reviewing your beneficiaries annually or when a significant life event occurs is essential.

Do you have the right amount and type of life insurance?

When was the last time you assessed your life insurance coverage? Have you compared the life insurance benefit with your financial obligations? Remember that several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. Consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a life insurance strategy. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments. Reach out to your financial advisor to complete a life insurance assessment.

Have you taken steps to manage your federal estate tax?

If you and your spouse have more than $24.12 million in assets (for 2022), you may want to consider taking steps to manage federal estate taxes, which will be due at the second spouse's death.1

TCJA Federal estate tax threshold 2025 Sunset?

The federal estate tax threshold rose to $24.12 million in 2022 for married couples and $12.06 million for individuals as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Like several TCJA provisions, the higher estate tax limit is due to sunset in 2025. Barring congressional action, the exemption amount will return to about $6.2 million, adjusted for inflation, in 2026. Similarly, the current 40% maximum gift and estate tax rate will increase to 45%. 

For high-net-worth individuals, this could influence wealth transfer strategies. Although this sunset is coming, the good news is that it's still a few years away.

Your financial advisor and the team at RMR Wealth Builders can help you with your estate strategy, regardless of whether Congress decides to maintain the current threshold. Now may be an excellent time to reach out and start thinking about your post-2025 process.

Have you taken steps to protect your business?

Do you have a succession plan? Your financial advisor can help you to create a strategy that works best for your situation. If you own a business with others, consider a buyout agreement and buy/sell insurance.

Have you created a letter of instruction?

A letter of instruction is a non-legal document that outlines your wishes. A strong, well-written letter may save your heirs time, effort, and expense as they administer your estate.

Will your heirs be able to locate your critical documents?

Your heirs may need access to the documents you created to manage your estate. These documents may include the following:

  • Your will
  • Trust documents
  • Life insurance policies
  • Deeds to any real estate and certificates for stocks, bonds, annuities
  • Information on your financial accounts and safe deposit boxes
  • Information on your retirement plans
  • Information on your debts: credit cards, mortgages, and loans.

Power of attorney laws can vary from state to state. An estate strategy with trusts may involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. Consider working with a knowledgeable estate management professional before implementing such strategies. RMR Wealth Builders has developed a network of attorney relationships focusing on estate planning documents. Contact your financial advisor if you are looking for an estate attorney.

  1., 2022


Investment advisory services offered through RMR Wealth Builders, Inc. RMR Wealth Builders, Inc. is not engaged in the practice of law or accounting. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.

RMR Wealth Builders, Inc. is a registered investment adviser with the SEC and only transacts business in states where properly registered, or are excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used to avoid any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security—copyright FMG Suite.