Plan Ahead For Your Heirs
Failing to plan for your estate can mean that the government, rather than your heirs, may get the major portion of your wealth. Take some time to add up the value of all your assets as you may be surprised what your estate is worth. Also remember that life insurance may fall into your estate. If your total value exceeds the exemption amount, you should look into a few simple planning techniques that can save your family come time to distribute your estate. In addition, there are some very effective estate planning strategies that can also reduce your current income tax bill.
We offer a free consultation to determine what your estate is worth and to determine if any of the following planning possibilities are right for you:
Current tax law allows you to give away a certain amount each year to as many recipients as you choose. Your spouse may also contribute to the gift, even if he or she is not an owner in the transferred asset. This means that you could transfer double the exempt amount each year to each of your heirs. To double the annual exclusion yet again, you may want to include spouses of your children. The person receiving the gift does not need to be related to you, and these annual gifts do not reduce your once-in-a-lifetime estate tax exclusion.
You can make unlimited gifts to pay for another individual’s medical expenses or school tuition as long as your payments are made directly to the institution.
If you have property that you do not plan to use after retirement, consider transferring it during your lifetime. If it is a large income producer, the future income will be taxed to the new owner and not to you, plus the property will not be included in your estate.
You can generally make unlimited, tax-free transfers to your spouse either during your lifetime or through your estate. However, leaving everything to your spouse may not be a good idea, since doing so fails to utilize the lifetime exclusion amount in the estate of the first spouse to die. Planning will allow you to use the exclusion in both estates, and you’ll be able to transfer twice as much to your heirs, free of estate tax.
Life Insurance Proceeds
With proper planning, certain life insurance proceeds can be kept out of your estate. Or you may wish to incorporate life insurance to cover other expenses related to your estate. Meet with one of our advisors to determine how best to manage your estate planning needs needs.