A few years back, I included in one of my articles some suggested actions for you to take to help with the transition of your assets.

With all the unexpected loss of family, friends and neighbors that we have experienced in the last couple of years, I thought it would be a good idea to bring some of those suggestions up again.

Will: Now is a good time to review your will to make sure it is up-to-date. If you don’t have a will make it a high priority and get a will completed.

Bank accounts: Make sure you have a “POD” in place, this is when you pass away, your accounts will be payable on death to the person or persons you list. See your banker with help on this.

Investment accounts: Make sure you have a “TOD” in place so when you pass away your investment accounts will be automatically transferred to whomever you list. See your investment advisor with help with this.

Retirement accounts: Make sure you have a beneficiary listed so when you pass away your retirement accounts will automatically be available to the ones you wish to receive these funds. See the person who is holding your retirement accounts for this step, this may be your HR at work, investment advisor, banker, etc.

These four steps above are vital for you to take care of. They will save your loved ones time, money and some stress when you do pass away. If you don’t take care of these steps, the ones that apply to you, no will, no beneficiary or person listed to receive funds, then an estate will have to be set up to handle your assets. This will cost in additional fees, time and your assets may not be transferred to the people you wanted to receive them.

There has been a change in the age for the required minimum distribution (RMD) from retirement accounts, it has increased from 70½ to72 for those who turn 70½ in 2020 or a later year. There is discussion going on that this age may increase again before you are require to start drawing from your retirement account(s). We will wait and see what ultimately is decided on this.

There is a big change in business meal expenses from restaurants — only for the years 2021 and 2022 — to 100 percent deductibility. This increase in deduction is “not” for meals from pre-packaged food such as in grocery stores, convenient stores, drug stores, kiosk, vending machines or other such businesses nor employer-operated eating facilities. Some examples that do not qualify for meals deductions are entertainment for clients or customers at baseball or football games, golf, other sports events or theatre events.

Some potential tax changes in the upcoming tax proposals are increasing the tax rates. For 2022, individual higher level tax rates would increase from 37 percent to 39.6 percent. The proposed rates for individual would not only increase, it would also lower the income threshold when the 39.6 percent would be applied. The proposal for capital gains and dividends tax would be subject to 39.6 percent. The corporate tax rate would increase from 21 percent to 28 percent.

Remember during these challenging times to please continue to support your local restaurants and other small businesses. Stay safe and healthy.

The information in this article is general in nature and should not be acted upon without first checking to determine its applicability to your situation.

Mary Currie is a certified public accountant practicing in Rocky Mount.