Estate Planning Management Tips from the Reed Longyear Estate Planning Department

The Reed Longyear Estate Planning Group continues to work full-time providing you with the best possible legal services during this challenging time.  We continue to write new Estate Planning documents, administer Trusts and process Probate matters daily.

Here are a few “Tips” to consider in managing your estate plan.

Retirement Accounts: Planning Tip from Attorney Anton Cauthorn

Normally, if you have a retirement account and are older than 70.5 years, you must withdraw the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your retirement account each year. However, you are excused from withdrawing funds this year, 2020, because of COVID-19.  For this year only Congress and the IRS created special rules relating to RMDs. In 2020, you are not required to take any RMDs.  You are not forced to withdraw funds from your retirement account this year. If you want to take withdrawals from your retirement account, you are allowed to do so. However, if you do not need the money, consider waiving this year’s RMD and avoid paying income tax on the distribution. Leaving your money in your retirement account allows your money to grow tax free. If you already took your RMD for 2020, it is too late to reverse the distribution and you must pay income tax on the RMD you already took in 2020.

Powers of Attorney For Health Care and for Finances: Planning Tip from Attorney Carla Calogero

Surprise! Your most important estate planning documents are likely your Powers-of-Attorney (POA) for health care and finances. The purpose of a POA is to designate a person or professional fiduciary to handle your health care and your financial affairs if you are unable to do so. Take a moment to review your current Powers-of-Attorney and answer these two questions:

(1) Is my POA effective today (“immediately”) or is it effective only if a medical doctor says I am incapacitated (“springing”)? Obtaining a doctor’s written certification of your incapacity can be challenging.  Consider changing your POA to make it effective today.  We are happy to discuss these choices with you.

(2) Did I pick the best person or institution to act as my POA? Serving under a POA can be difficult. Perhaps the person you selected 5 years ago is not able to do the job today. Consider selecting a professional fiduciary to serve as either your first choice or as a back- up choice.

Updating your Estate Plan in Uncertain Times: Planning Tip from Attorney Mary Anne Vance

During the past few months, I have spoken with many clients about their estate planning wishes as expressed in their Will, Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Health Directive, and Retirement account beneficiary designations.  Clients can help themselves, without incurring legal fees, by taking these simple actions:

Here are a few simple things you can do:
1. Review Your Current Estate Planning Documents. If you do not have the documents handy, email me at or call me at (206) 624-6271. I will send you an electronic set of your signed documents within a day or two at no charge. Consider whether your existing documents reflect your current wishes.
2. Complete an Updated Estate Planning Questionnaire. This will take you 1 to 2 hours. It is the single most important action you can take to help yourself and your family have a clear and current record of your assets and other personal data. You will need to complete  either the married couple form or the unmarried person form.  Use the hyperlinks to access the documents. If you want me to email or postal mail a copy of a blank questionnaire let me know. If you want a copy of a questionnaire you completed for me in the past I would be happy to send it to you.
3. Review Beneficiary Designations. Contact the holder of each of your individual retirement accounts (IRAs), annuities and life insurance and get a written confirmation of your named beneficiaries, both primary and secondary. Read our blog post written by attorney Joshua Reinertson titled “Decoding the New SECURE Act Pertaining to IRAs.” Because beneficiaries now have only 10 years to withdraw the assets after your death, clients are adjusting their beneficiary designations to take advantage of the change.
4. Update Your Health Care Directives. Read Attorney Carla Calogero’s article “Considerations in Individualized End of Life Planning” outlining important advance care documents you may wish to have in place in this time of medical uncertainty.

We hope this information is helpful and encourages you to update your estate plan when your circumstances change.
Feel free to check in with our Estate Planning department anytime Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at or at 206-624-6271.