5 Tips For Successful Estate Planning
Estate planning involves making specific arrangements to ensure your estate, including insurance and investments, vehicles, land properties, bank accounts, jewellery, furniture, and other valuable items, goes to the right persons after your demise.
This ensures that everything you own doesn't end up with unintended beneficiaries, secures your loved one's way of life, reduces taxes for the heirs, eliminates family disputes, and gives you peace of mind.
An ideal estate plan should have guardianship designations, a will, medical power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, beneficiary designations, and a personal intent letter detailing your wishes in case you become incapacitated or die. Here are five tips for successful estate planning.
1. Plan for state and federal estate taxes
When you pass on, your assets could be subjected to estate and inheritance taxes. However, you can minimise these taxes by ensuring simple estate planning and the total estate amount under the threshold. If your inheritances and estates are over the threshold, you can set up trusts to facilitate wealth transfer, easing the tax burden.
You can also minimise estate tax exposure by using an intentionally defective grantor trust to isolate specific trust assets to separate income and estate taxes treatment on the assets. Since tax laws are complex and could be difficult for you to keep up with, experienced tax lawyers can help create a solid ongoing tax strategy framework to help you maintain compliance or assist your loved ones after your demise.
2. Build a professional team
With the help of a professional team, including financial and tax advisors and estate planning lawyers, you can get a complete estate plan customised to your specific requirements. This is because each professional in the estate planning process plays a crucial role. The aim of assembling this team is to ensure the distribution of your assets to the relevant organisations and people has little to no confusion.
3. Expect family conflicts
Oftentimes, family conflicts are kept hidden when you're alive. They may erupt after your demise. Usually, the estate plan details result in or escalate family resentments or disputes. If you don't acknowledge family conflicts, you're setting up your estate planners for frustration. Additionally, having siblings with varying philosophies or personalities jointly inherit a business or property increases the risk of family conflicts and resentments. With the help of your estate planner, you can ensure cohesion among your estate beneficiaries.
4. Set guardianship for dependents
If you have dependents in your family, including a person with special needs or minors, you'll have to appoint a guardian to look after them in your absence. Talk to the potential guardian in advance to get their consent. They don't have to manage the finances you leave for your dependent's benefit. Additionally, appointing a couple as co-guardians can get tricky, especially when they divorce. Consult your estate planning attorney to prepare for this eventuality.
5. Document your will
Will documentation is a crucial estate planning step you shouldn't neglect. It shows how your assets should be distributed after your demise. The court won't accept a will that isn't documented. In such cases, the court will determine who will acquire your estate. So, draft your will with complete scrutiny and verify the document to prevent complications
Preparing an estate plan is a crucial task, but it isn’t easy. Use these tips for successful estate planning.