End of year estate planning tips

As the end of the year approaches, many Fort Mill residents are likely to be rushing to the stores to complete their gift shopping and make sure their loved ones are getting the gifts they have been looking forward to all year. However, one gift many people neglect to give family members is the protection of assets through the creation of a comprehensive estate plan. As the year ends, consider taking a few steps to ensure loved ones are taken care of not just this year, but for the future.

The first step those over 70 years of age should do is ensure the 2018 required Minimum Distributions are taken from their individual retirement account. Missed RMDs result in a 50 percent fine. Additionally, those who want to contribute to charity should take advantage of the Qualified Charitable Distributions, as it allows those who are over 70.5 years to transfer up to $100,000 to charity tax free.

It is also important to check all the beneficiaries listed on all the accounts. One of the most common yet most avoidable mistakes in estate planning is to have the wrong beneficiary named on an account and prevent valuable assets from getting to the right person. Life events, such as marriage, births, deaths and divorces, all change how a person views beneficiaries, and taking a stock of at the end of the year is an important step to take.

Thinking about what will happen to a person's estate after they pass on is not the way many South Carolina residents want to spend the festive season, but doing so can provide a valuable gift to loved ones. Additionally, a yearly review can save people from having to overhaul estate planning documents more thoroughly in the long-run.

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