If you are close to retirement, one thing that has probably been on your mind is your estate plan. If you’re not sure where to start, then we will be going through some of the most important points in this guide with five useful estate planning tips.
Estate Planning Tip #1: Create a Will
It is understandable that you do not want to think about your will just yet. Growing old isn’t exactly the most exciting point in your life so thinking about a will before you even retire might be strange. Sadly, it is an important part of your estate plan that you should attend to as soon as possible. Your estate plan will decide who inherits your assets such as your property, car, valuable items, and even your digital accounts which is why it is important to draw up plans at an early stage.
You want to approach creating your will wisely; that being said, contact a lawyer. An attorney will help you come up with the right words and structure for your will so that when it is used your executor will have a much easier time carrying out your will. Just remember that certain things cannot be put on your will which is why it is important to have a trusted attorney to walk you through the process.
Estate Planning Tip #2: Planning Tax-Efficient Strategies
When you leave behind a large sum of money to be inherited you may be forced to pay high amounts of tax. Thankfully, it is possible to reduce the amount of tax you pay by utilizing tax-efficient strategies. For example, donating to charities means you do not pay tax on those assets you own. This could be a sum of money or something valuable. If you own something that you do not want to pay tax on when handling down to your relatives and loved ones then simply donate it and you will be spared the tax charges. If you do not want to give it away, there are life insurance options we can talk about to offset taxes.
Some assets are free from estate taxes. For example, a life insurance policy can be left to someone without being forced to pay tax on it. Retirement accounts are also exempt from estate taxes. It is good to learn where you can and cannot avoid paying taxes. Do not worry if you are unsure—your professional lawyer (Intrepid Law) will be able to guide you through this step with ease.
Estate Planning Tip #3: Cover Expenses with a Trust
If you feel like there will be monetary issues when you are no longer around, then it might be worth using your current assets to cover expenses by using a trust plan. Whether it is schooling fees, insurance payments, or even health care, our experienced lawyer can help you set up a trust that can be used to pay for future expenses when you have passed away.
Here is an example of how this works:
Let’s say that you want to provide a great education for your grandson when he comes of age. You can set up the trust to trigger when your grandson reaches the age of 18 where they receive the money you have left in the trust to pay for their college tuition. However, the money must be used for the agreed purpose or else the money will not be released. Using a trust to cover expenses is a great way to feel at ease when you are close to passing on. Many want to provide for their family even when they are not around and it gives your loved one’s peace of mind for their futures.
Estate Planning Tip #4: Use Your Life Insurance to Offset Taxes
The people you have entrusted your assets to will likely be subject to fees and income taxes. This can put them under a lot of financial stress despite inheriting all of your assets. Thankfully, you can use your life insurance to offset those costs so that they can cover all of these payable taxes.
For instance, if your estate planner does the calculations and estimates that a total of $250,000 needs to be paid in estate and income tax, then you can set up a life insurance plan in their name. The beneficiary of your life insurance is not forced to pay tax, so they may use the $250,000 to help pay the taxes owed on the assets inherited. This is a brilliant tax-efficient strategy that will help your loved ones a great deal.
Estate Planning Tip #5: Hire a Reputable Estate Planning Team
Estate planning is not something you can do on your own easily. It takes a great deal of patience, knowledge, and understanding of the law in order to accomplish everything and hiring just a single person will not cut it. You need several experts that are knowledgeable in their fields if you want to get the best estate planning assistance possible.
This usually consists of an estate planning attorney, a tax specialist, and possibly a financial advisor. These are three main roles you will need in your team. The estate planning attorney will help you write up a will and set up any trusts that you may want. This helps ensure that your plan will meet any federal and state criteria so that it becomes legally binding. You must find a professional that knows the law in your state. For example, if you live in Missouri then you will need to find a lawyer from a city such as St. Louis.
The tax professional will be helping you minimize the amount you have to pay in taxes, and your financial advisor will help you design an investment portfolio for the assets you have. Make sure your financial advisor has some experience with estate planning before you hire them. While we do not offer investment advice, Intrepid Law can assist you with both estate and tax planning.
Hopefully, these five tips have given you some insight into estate planning and how you can prepare for your retirement. Make sure you do this as soon as possible so you can enjoy the rest of your life as a carefree soul.