Posted by Elliot Kravitz, ATP

How To Improve Estate Plans

How To Improve Estate Plans

As a smart fund manager, you probably already have at least one basic real estate plan, including the notary's will and financial powers. However, there are many other tools you can use to ensure that your wishes are met, that your property is protected, that your family is protected, and property taxes are kept to a minimum. Here, let's look at some of these advanced strategies that deserve to be examined.

Child Protection Plan: who will raise your kids if both parents die in an accident? It is also essential to plan the treatment of the benefits of life insurance and the money you leave to your children.

Sign a will

To be honest, we all know that a will is essential. You need it to make sure the chosen heirs receive the goods you want to leave. As you wish, you will appoint an executor who will have the power and responsibility to pay your debts and distribute the rest of the property as you please. If you die involuntarily, your property will be passed on to your survivors per the laws in your state. In most states, this means that your spouse and your children will share your inheritance.

Name an Executor

Will also allows you to designate your executor, the person responsible for the distribution of your property, the filing of tax returns on behalf of your property, and processing of your creditors' claims. Your executor can be a friend, a family member, or a professional such as an accountant or a lawyer. Still, he must be a trusted person who wants and can assume his responsibilities.

If you appoint a professional, the executor will receive the property you own. The amount or rate must be negotiated in advance; compensation can range from an hourly rate to a percentage of activities paid annually.

Estate reduction by gifting

If property taxes are a significant problem, it may be useful to reduce the size of the property. For example, giving money while alive can be an effective tactic. You and your spouse can donate up to $ 15,000 per beneficiary, reducing the value of your property without paying a donation fee. The gift is usually free, even for recipients. You can also donate up to $ 11.4 million in your lifetime without paying a donation fee. Also, it is generally possible to pay another person's education or health costs, with no cash limit, provided that the factor is paid directly.

You can also reduce the value of your assets through charitable donations, for example, through a donor-recommended fund. This option generally allows for an immediate tax deduction (consult your tax advisor) as payments to charities are made over time. As a donor, you can make recommendations regarding the beneficiaries of the fund; however, you would not have the highest authority to make decisions.

Living Will

This is also called an early directive. Provides direction to the person who is making medical decisions about what you want in specific scenarios. Under what conditions do you want to stay alive? It is advisable to discuss these issues with your family and with whom you have the power of medical representation, to understand your wishes.

Dodge property taxes

The large majority of Americans do not have to worry about the federal real estate tax. According to the law in effect, approved by Congress on January 1 of this year, only about 1% of real estate is subject to federal property taxes.

The federal estate and gift tax exemption now stands at $ 5.25 million and will increase each year with inflation. Spouses can combine their exemptions so that couples can leave or donate $ 10.5 million without paying federal estate tax. Suppose, for example, that the spouses have $ 3 million in assets. If the husband dies first and leaves everything to his wife, there will be no property tax. When a woman dies leaving $ 6 million to her children, no fees are due, as her assets may use some of her husband's unused exemption.

However, to use this strategy, the wife must file a tax return on her husband's property (or otherwise), even if no tax is owed. The deadline is nine months from the date of death, but the real estate developer can request an extension of six months. 

Assign healthcare power of attorney

Increase your chances of your directives being followed if you have a trusted health care provider, sometimes called a health professional, who supports you on your behalf. You can name this agent by signing what is called permanent empowerment of health care. Your doctor should be able to do three main things: understand important information about medical treatment, manage stress when making difficult decisions, and consider your interests and wishes when making these decisions.

Organize your digital and paper files

Your executor will remind you of more love if you organize your estate planning and financial documents and keep them in a safe but convenient place. Keep the original documents in the lawyer's safe, bank, or at home. If the spouse is not the co-owner of your warehouse, your executor may have to ask the court for permission to open it.

Gather all the necessary documents for your executor, how to write the plot, insurance policies, bank statements, brokerage, and mutual fund accounts, and information on pensions and other benefits. Keep an up-to-date list of your resources, names, and phone numbers of your legal and financial advisors, as well as an inventory of items stored in your vault. Keep these documents at home in a metal box, a lake, or a safe with water-resistant, fireproof key.

Additional possibilities

There are many other ways to strengthen your estate plan, and your private banker can provide you with information and advice on your options, creating a plan that will give you the most benefit, as well as your beneficiaries.

Elliot Kravitz, ATP
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