The idea of writing an estate plan can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to not put it off. Having this kind of plan for the future ensures that your assets go to those you want to have them. Meeting with an estate lawyer is the best approach to not only sorting out your assets, but making sure they are distributed to chosen loved ones, friends, or charity organizations when the time comes. If you want to keep as much money in the family as possible, consider these estate planning tips:
Drafting a Will
No one wants to picture a time when they are no longer here. The task of estate planning means facing our own mortality. Your lawyer understands that this task is not an easy one, and can provide guidance on how to get started. Writing a will is the most basic and common estate planning strategies, as this document instructs how you want assets to be divided up after you pass away. If you die without a will, then your estate will be distributed based on state intestacy laws by the court system.
Gift Money Wisely Now
If you want to give away money in a way that avoids estate taxes, then you can gift them while you are still alive. But you’ll have to do this wisely and with assistance from a lawyer familiar with estate law. The purpose of gifting now would be to avoid paying estate taxes for yourself and your recipients. However, you’ll have to be careful about how you give away assets that rise in value, such as a house or stocks. Another strategic way to reduce estate value is through donating to charity. Instead of a single, one-time gift, you may prefer to set up a donor fund. In this way, you will reap a prompt tax deduction for the funds you deposit into the fund, and allow you to make charitable donations overtime.
Talking with Beneficiaries
Depending on your situation, you may wish to speak with beneficiaries about what you want them to receive after you pass on. Some people may choose to be more detailed or vague, but the point is that it can help for your beneficiaries to know what to anticipate in the future so they can ensure your wishes are carried out properly. As your lawyer can help you with, you can create a beneficiary deed which means property or other assets are transferred to someone else automatically after you die.
As our estate planning lawyer friends from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC know, planning for your future can stir up uncomfortable feelings. But we all have to face our mortality eventually, and it’s better that our loved ones receive a portion of our legacy instead of having the court decide for us.