Legacy planning involves thinking about what mark you want to leave on the world and taking steps to ensure you can accomplish your goals. You need to think about how to build and acquire assets, what you can do to protect the assets, and how you can ensure your property is used for the purposes you wish when you are gone. Everyone’s legacy plan will be different because it’s specific to you and your dreams. Find out more here about what is included in the legacy planning process.
Your estate plan needs to be designed with your own specific needs in mind. This means making sure you include New York’s legal tools that can help you with the probate process. Your plan may include wills, trusts, the creation of a power of attorney, the purchase of insurance, an incapacity plan, and a Medicaid plan. You need to make sure your plan protects your future, family, and assets. Find out more here about some of the things you may wish to include in your estate plan.
Following a death, probate is usually the process by which a deceased person’s assets are transferred. However, probate is not always required in every single situation. For example, you could make a comprehensive estate plan aimed at avoiding probate in order to spare your loved ones the stress of probate. Avoiding probate could also help you reduce court costs and fees associated with probate and could lead to your heirs inheriting more quickly. Click here to find out more about whether probate is required in every situation.
A payable on death account can be used to allow the assets held in the account to transfer outside of the probate process. It is possible for a pay on death account to be a part of your estate plan that is aimed at avoiding the probate process and allowing heirs to inherit money right after your death, rather than having to go through probate. To find out more about payable on death accounts, how they work, and whether or not they are the right choice for you to include in your estate plan, click here.
Most states and the federal government do not have inheritance taxes, so your heirs likely will not have to pay this type of tax. However, both the federal government and New York do impose estate taxes on estates which exceed a certain value. Click here to find out more about taxes after a death.
The unlimited marital estate tax deduction allows you to transfer an unlimited amount of wealth and assets to your spouse when you pass away. The unlimited marital deduction can be important in estate planning, as you can make strategic plans to transfer assets to your spouse and to combine the amount of wealth you can leave to your loved ones without being taxed. You can each pass on $5.45 million in assets (as of 2016) without incurring taxes, and if one of you leaves your entire estate to the other, you can combine your exclusions. The last surviving spouse can thus pass on $10.9 million without paying estate taxes. Find out more here about how the unlimited marital estate tax deduction works and how it can help you avoid estate taxes.
When you create a revocable living trust, you need to make certain that the trust is actually funded. If you just create a trust but you don’t formally transfer the ownership of any assets or any property into that trust, your trust is not going to provide you with the asset protection you planned on. To fund your trust, you need to first make sure a trust can own the particular assets you are considering transferring. You need to transfer accounts or change the title and deed if transferring real property. Find out more here about how you can fund revocable living trusts.
Family wealth trusts help you to protect resources and to pass on assets to your loved ones in the most efficient way possible. Family wealth trusts can help you with tax planning, and with making sure that your heirs are provided for in an appropriate manner. Click here to find out more about family wealth trusts and how they can work for you.