“Thought for the Day” #783 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

August 16, 2016

Many older estate plans (plans implemented prior to 2012, and particularly those plans created in the 1990s and early 2000s) contain dispositive provisions between husband and wife that are no longer necessary for most couples in this age of unprecedentedly high estate tax exemption amounts and portability.  This is a technical-factual issue.  But these once-necessary but no longer needed structures can also cause problems on a practical level for older clients when surviving spouses are left to deal with the complexity of these now over-the-top plans.  Mature couples who did the good work of estate planning in years past should review those plans to determine whether older structures are still viable and necessary.  In this way, many surviving spouses who would otherwise be left to deal with the complexities of estate and trust administration can enjoy more relative simplicity and peace of mind during that inevitable time of transition and change.