This time of year, many people resolve to get financial affairs in order so they are better prepared for the future. The reasons for a plan to protect the estate assets are many. Recently, a news article covered some of the most common reasons for estate planning, and also gave some insight into the types of estate planning tools, which may be of interest to California residents.
Estate panning can protect the family, prevent unnecessary costs and support important goals. Less often, it is used to protect people from tax implications, but recent changes have made the estate tax a concern only for those who have an estate valued at $11 million, or $22 million for couples. Family benefits include financially protecting an inheritance for the heirs and a surviving spouse, providing for minor children or disabled individuals, and naming guardians for any minor children. Cost reducing benefits include minimizing income taxes, preserving the family business and preventing the loss of assets to creditors. A person can choose to support important goals by making a gift to charity via the estate plan.
A will is the most common route to transfer assets. Other times, a trust can be used. A trust can be structured in a number of ways to benefit the trustee. Common reasons for a trust include privacy and avoiding court involvement with the estate.
Estate planning is often a priority for older folks, but everyone can benefit from having a solid plan in place. Whether one chooses to protect estate assets or the needs of minor children by properly documenting one’s wishes, a good plan can certainly help. In California, a person does not need to complete such an undertaking alone. Many individuals choose to hire an estate planning attorney for more guidance about the options.
Source: pilotonline.com, “Make estate planning a priority this year,” John T. Midgett, Jan. 11, 2018