Estate planning is an essential task that many Americans understand is important. However, many who know the importance of estate planning have yet to draw up these necessary documents. Although estate planning can seem daunting, the earlier you start, the easier it is to manage. You don’t have to be wealthy or entering old age to start this process. By planning ahead, even just by drafting a will, you can do a lot to save your family’s future time and money. The Millman Law Group can help you explore efficient estate planning strategies, starting with the following five tips.
Draft Your Will
A will is a document that states who receives your assets and names an executor to carry out your instructions. You should draft you will when you are married, have kids or pets, or own large assets such as a home or car. Without a will, the court will distribute assets or name a guardian for your children according to state law. This could mean that they choose differently than you would. Failing to draft a will creates a significant problem for your heirs and delays the distribution of your assets.
Update Your Beneficiaries
You don’t need to use a will to distribute your assets. Some more efficient estate planning strategies include naming beneficiaries to accounts such as retirement plans or life insurance policies. That beneficiary will automatically inherit any money on those accounts without going through probate.
If a married couple shares a joint bank account, the surviving spouse takes over account ownership. If you haven’t assigned beneficiaries to your eligible financial accounts, they could go to the probate court, where a legal process determines who receives the money.
Consider a Living Trust
When you set up a trust, you ask a trustee to hold an asset in a trust fund on behalf of your beneficiary. There are many types of trusts, but most will be irrevocable or revocable. An irrevocable trust declares that the assets no longer belong to you but to the trust. The money therefore isn’t subject to estate taxes and won’t go through probate.
A revocable trust lets you retain control over the assets or dissolve the trust at any time. These also do not go through probate but may be subject to estate taxes. Trusts are essential for helping you bypass the probate process and help your assets get to your heirs faster.
Gift Money While You’re Alive
You may be familiar with the “gift tax.” As of 2023, the IRS permits individuals to give up to $17,000 per person annually, tax-free. If you are concerned about estate taxes, inheritance taxes, or an extended probate process, gifting money can help you direct your money where you want it to go. This later-in-life estate planning strategy is most effective when your finances are exceptionally stable.
Hire a Professional
Estate planning can get complicated as more assets and heirs must be considered. This is why everyone can benefit from working with an estate planning attorney with lots of experience in this field. Your attorney can help you draft all necessary documents and recommend the best trusts or other documents for your specific needs.
Your lawyer will also know the best ways to avoid probate and streamline the delivery of assets to your heirs. When you work with a professional at The Millman Law Group, you can create the best estate planning strategies to benefit your family far into the future.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs Trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.