Your estate planning goes farther than figuring out who should be named as a beneficiary and how much they should receive. Comprehensive planning also thinks about the best way to distribute assets and how the methods you choose influences the beneficiary’s life.
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On your death, your estate is subject to Generation Skipping Tax and Estate Tax. In states like New Jersey, your estate will also be subject to a State Estate Tax plus an Inheritance Tax in some cases. Without realizing the impacts, a portion of your estate can be swallowed up before your beneficiaries ever receive it. Some states also impose their own estate tax, diminishing your estate even further. The good news is that some advance planning with a professional can reduce the impact of these taxes.
To start with, you can take advantage of the federal exemption amount of $5.34 Million, which allows you to give away up to that amount during lifetime and death (total) without initiating that estate tax. Annual exclusion gifts, too, can be helpful for minimizing the blow of a big tax. Married couples are able to combine exclusion powers to give up to $28,000 per year per person without being hit with a tax, and this is separate from the federal gift-tax exemption.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to strategies to protect wealth and minimize taxes. Many tools are available and you can learn more from contacting us today for a consultation. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455 to begin.
Depending on who you talk to, your estate planning specialist might recommend wills over trusts or trusts over wills. Let’s walk through some of the differences between these two planning tools to see if one might be a better fit for your needs.
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If you are planning to use a will as your primary tool, bear in mind that your assets must first go through the probate process in order to be eventually received by your beneficiaries. Some states have lengthy and cumbersome probate processes, meaning that it could take your beneficiaries a while to actually receive the assets. Probate is also very public, meaning that details about your financial situation will be shared in a less-private forum. If you’re concerned about this, a trust might be a better option.
In comparison, trusts tend to pass by the court system for the majority of the administrative process. Since these are privacy documents, there’s less public scrutiny into your finances or your plans, and some clients prefer this confidential approach. Unlike wills, which become active on your death, a trust can be rendered effective immediately. Additionally, trusts can also be used for incapacity planning, adding another layer to their usefulness.
Both wills and trusts can do tax planning for credit shelter trusts. The bottom line is that it depends on your needs. If you are not concerned about the red tape of the probate process, there are still advantages (especially regarding privacy) for the establishment of a trust. We work with clients to create a customized plan for you since we recognize that each client is unique. To talk more about the kinds of trusts we can help you establish or to begin generation of your will, contact us today at 732-521-9455 or through e-mail at email@example.com
Owning and operating your own business is an exciting venture, but it can present you with challenges when you are unwilling or unable to continue managing the business. If you are considering passing the company on to your children or grandchildren, make sure you put some time into the planning process so that the transition is as smooth as possible.
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The best recommendation for succession planning is to start five years in advance of when you might need an exit strategy. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they will only need to consider this need later in life. With rising numbers of people impacted by a disability, succession planning is something you should consider early. Getting the planning done well in advance gives you room to alter your plan if needed. Throughout this process, keep your family members engaged in the conversation so that relevant individuals understand their role.
While you have many options as a business owner, you should consider the talent of your children and grandchildren in order to decide how they might fit into the bigger picture. It’s critical that you are realistic about this decision. While it’s important for whoever takes over for you to have the passion and interest in running the business, you should also evaluate business skill and potential in making your decision. If you have several children, it may not be feasible for them to each own an equal portion of the company. In this circumstance, you should plan to transfer the whole business to a child who wants to follow you as the owner. Other assets can then be transferred to other children. This may be the most effective move for your business and future family harmony, too.
Plan For Existing Employees
Unless you are the sole person managing a company, it’s likely you have a team behind you. Make sure you have considered what will happen to these employees after you go as well. Will then be incorporated into the transition phase? Are there key employees who could help your children understand the big picture and smaller operational issues as well? Remember that in the event of a major disruption in a company such as the departure of a longtime leader, key employees may not want to stay. Having a conversation with them about your succession plans, as well as providing incentives for them to stay, may be in your best interest. Keeping valuable and knowledgeable employees on the team after you leave will make the transition easier for all and is less likely to cause financial issues for your business.
Train and Document
Once you have decided the best approach for your planning, train those individuals that will play a role at the time of your departure. Keep them clued in to vital issues. Remember that it’s much easier to update your succession planning once it has been documented. Working with an experience estate planning attorney will give you confidence and peace of mind about your decision.