Estate planning help can ensure a secure financial future for your family.
People often mistakenly assume estate planning help is only for the wealthy. But in reality, all families can benefit from a well-rounded estate plan that protects their assets. As you plan for the future financial security of your loved ones, keep these key planning strategies in mind:
Create a Will or Trust
This seems like a simple and obvious step. But it’s not followed as often as you’d expect. Far too many people assume that, because they are young and healthy, they can hold off on drafting a will or trust. Remember, if you don’t have a will prepared, your assets could be subject to probate. Probate is a stressful, time-consuming process. It will likely leave your loved ones with fewer financial resources than they would have had if you created a will or trust.
A will is the preferred approach for those who wish to pass on their property. However, there are certain situations in which a trust is preferable. A trust is a particularly excellent option if you suspect your heirs will not be wise with the money you leave them. You and your beneficiaries can further benefit if the trust is irrevocable, as this will shield your trustees from extensive estate taxes.
List Beneficiaries on All Accounts
Although a will can ensure proper distribution of most assets, this is by no means the only way to pass down elements of your estate. Besides creating a will, check all other accounts to determine the beneficiary listed. Many people fail to update beneficiaries and years later see former spouses listed on life insurance policies — or nobody at all. Types of accounts worth checking for beneficiaries include:
- Bank accounts
- Life insurance policies
Consider Lifetime Giving as an Alternate Approach
The typical approach to estate planning is to hold off on disbursing assets until after the estate holder has passed away. However, it is possible to begin distributing these assets while still alive, and in some cases, this approach is preferable. Before you pursue lifetime giving, determine whether you have enough to live on, even after you begin distributing your estate. If this approach to estate planning is viable, you’ll reduce your estate’s appreciating assets while also reducing the extent of future estate taxes.
Use a Family Limited Partnership to Manage Assets
You can look at a variety of partnerships to protect your assets, but the family limited partnership is a particularly cost-effective means of transferring wealth. This approach could save you thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars in estate and gift taxes. In a typical FLP, senior partners contribute assets and obtain a larger limited partner interest. They eventually give a portion or all this limited partner interest to their heirs or set it aside in a trust.
The estate planning tips outlined above can help you provide a secure future for those you love most. The talented team at Incompass can help you execute these and other strategies, all while integrating your tax plan with your estate plan. Contact us at (916) 974-9393 to learn more.