Q: How can I preserve my assets for my kids and loved ones?
A: Dear Parent: With tax time right around the corner, you may be thinking about how you can minimize what you’ll pay to Uncle Sam and your state in taxes, so as much goes to your family as possible. Every year around this time, we’re reminded of how much money goes out, rather than in. Unfortunately, we don’t get many reminders about preserving our assets through estate planning. Or perhaps we ignore them, thinking we don’t really have enough to have an “estate”.
Truth is, if you have people you love and any assets at all in your name, you do have an estate and it is worth preserving for the people you love. In some cases, that may mean keeping them out of court and out of conflict, if anything happens to you. (Did you know that the biggest family fights happen over the smallest sums of money or even the personal effects of a person who has passed on? Let’s keep that from happening to your family!)
If you’re concerned about maximizing the amount your heirs receive and minimizing the amount received by governments, there are several steps you can take.
First and foremost, keep your family out of Court. It’s unnecessary, expensive and almost always public. Consider using a Trust to make it easy to handle your assets if you become incapacitated or when you pass on.
Second, while most Americans need not worry about the Federal estate and gift tax ($5.45 million in 2016), you may need to think about State estate taxes if you or your loved ones live in one of the 20 states that impose them. Contact us to discuss.
If you’d like to ensure that you maximize the resources available to your loved one’s and keep your family out of Court and out of conflict, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.™ A Personal Family Lawyer® can review your existing plan and help you make adjustments that will help you achieve your goals.