Three major forces of change —taxes, legislation and our increasingly digital world — have changed the nature of estate planning. As a result, those planning for the successful transfer of wealth will need to do so armed with new information and, in many cases, very different approaches.

Admittedly, this can feel overwhelming, but it is a manageable challenge. It simply requires a different mindset and approach that includes the following:

Plan for "What If"

One of the best defenses in a complex and constantly changing world is to have a healthy imagination and apply it regularly. Keep change in mind as you plan. You may find that you don't mind when it comes.

Think Holistically

By thinking about all aspects of your wealth and all resources available to you, you can help fully realize your goals while avoiding short-sighted decisions or unintended consequences.

Review Your Plan Regularly

Change is inevitable. The only way to address this is to accept it, stay on top of it as much as possible and revisit your plan whenever a major change occurs.

Get Help From a Committed, Caring Expert

Advisors must stay on top of the law, market dynamics, your plan, your personal circumstances and how changes in any of these areas could impact you. Doing so requires not just skill but discipline, excellent communication skills, personal integrity and commitment.

“More than ever, it is important to think from all angles... not just passing on your wealth but passing on your values...”
Estate plans that fail to keep up with the times may be exposed to damaging consequences.
Stay on top of changes to tax laws

Increases in federal income tax rates, exemption amounts and other changes to tax law (including state level changes) may present new challenges to your estate plan.

Explore the benefits of modernized trust laws

Modern innovations in trust law, such as directed trusts, trust decanting and trust protector concepts can add new flexibility to your estate plan.

Don't forget to include digital assets in your plan

Take stock of the security and privacy of your online assets and information, and determine how you want to integrate them into your plan.

  • This material is provided for illustrative/educational purposes only. This material is not intended to constitute legal, tax, investment or financial advice. Effort has been made to ensure that the material presented herein is accurate at the time of publication. However, this material is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area or of all of the tax, investment or financial options available. The information discussed herein may not be applicable to or appropriate for every investor and should be used only after consultation with professionals who have reviewed your specific situation. BNY Mellon Wealth Management conducts business through various operating subsidiaries of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. ©2016 The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. All rights reserved.