How To Keep Money In The Family

Estate Planning Lawyer

The idea of estate planning can be overwhelming, but it’s best to not put it off, especially if you want to make sure you keep as much money in the family as possible. Having a reliable estate plan is vital to ensuring that money and other assets go to your intended beneficiaries. As a Bergen County, NJ estate planning lawyer from Kaplan Law Practice, LLC explains, if you want to learn more about how to keep what you have built over a lifetime in the family, then read on. 

Review Your Beneficiaries

One approach to preventing probate is to name beneficiaries for your assets. You will need to choose beneficiaries for various accounts, such as life insurance policies and retirement funds. In some states you may even be permitted to do beneficiary deeds, which makes it easy to give property to another person after you have passed away. Transfer-on-death accounts or beneficiary designations will overrule anything that is written in your will, so it’s a good idea to review beneficiary information and update it as life circumstances change, such as a marriage, divorce, and birth of children. 

Establishing a Trust

If you have a large estate or are concerned that your beneficiaries will not be smart with your money, devising a trust and choosing a trustee to distribute assets may be the best route for you. A trust is a reasonable choice, especially if you want to leave more than $250,000 in assets to any one individual. There are different types of trusts, but irrevocable trusts in particular may not provide the maximum tax benefits. When funds are put into a trust that is irrevocable, assets do not belong to you any longer, they are part of the trust itself. Because of this, the money is not subjected to estate taxes. Your appointed trustee will control the money, but you can write stipulations on how it is used, and funds can be transferred from the trust while you are still alive.

Gift Money Now

If you give away your money through gifts while still alive, you can avoid estate taxes to a certain degree. In recent years, the IRS now allows people to gift $15,000 per individual each year. If your intent is to prevent estate taxes, these gifts can help bring the value down, and the money you give away is tax-free for the recipients. But you have to be wary of gifting assets that will increase in value overtime, such as a home or stocks. The taxable amount of some assets may be adjusted when the owner passes away, so transferring these assets may be better after death instead of beforehand. 

As someone who has accumulated assets and wealth that you are proud of, it’s no wonder you want to take steps to protect it, especially if your estate is vast in value. Perhaps the best approach to safeguarding your legacy is by getting started now devising an estate plan that ensures your wishes are abided by.