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Rethink nontax parts of estate plan, too

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in Small Business Tax

Next year's estate-tax exemption increase—from $1 million to $1.5 million—will prompt many people to tweak their estate plans. (See article above.) If you're meeting with your tax adviser about those topics, you should also review aspects of your estate plan that don't involve taxes.

Example: Make sure your will and power of attorney are up to date. Choose an executor to handle your estate, plus guardians if your children are minors. Make sure the beneficiary forms for your retirement accounts and insurance policies are up to date.

You may want to create a revocable trust for probate avoidance and incapacity planning. In case of your death or incompetency, a trustee you've chosen can step in and handle your affairs.

Finally, share your estate plan with your key relatives so they'll know what strategies you want. Tell them where you keep your will, trust documents and power of attorney. And provide them a list of insurance policy numbers and financial accounts, plus phone numbers of your insurance agent, broker, accountant and attorney.

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