inconsequential whether you make your home in Fort Wayne or some other part of
the country: estate planning is nearly always a challenge. Try
following these guidelines, and your planning ought
to prove less of a chore.
Declare Who Gets What
If you haven’t left a will,
the laws that govern your domicile decide
who assumes your assets. This also entails nonfinancial assets for which you most
likely consider the disposition critical,
such as that vintage auto you consider to be your pride
and joy, or the piece of jewelry that your beloved
niece has forever spoken about with something akin to reverence.
Be careful here, given that your will might
not govern your assets for which beneficiary
designations are among the terms of the governing agreements. This is also applicable to tax-deferred U.S. retirement
accounts and life insurance policies. Get hold of the financial institution that holds
the asset to understand the laws
How It Ought to Be Spent
If you plan to have part of your assets divvied up to take care of particular
expenses, you may have
to set up a trust that includes
such provisions. For example, you might wish
to earmark specific amounts to take
care of college and special needs expenses for certain
beneficiaries. The trustee of the trust would be legally
bound to see that the set-aside amounts are put to use covering these expenses.
Estate and Income Taxes
If you foresee that your beneficiaries will owe estate and income tax on the
amounts that they inherit, you may find it possible to reduce these taxes by using
tax-efficient strategies. To be more specific, you could transfer taxable assets to charities if charities are named
in your list of beneficiaries, and entrust your tax-free assets, such as Roth retirement
accounts, life insurance and after-tax savings, to your other beneficiaries.
Furthermore, you can reduce your
taxable estate by gifting amounts to your beneficiaries while you are alive, and the gift would be nontaxable if it is $14,000 or less for each recipient.