You can’t take your money with you when you go. But failing to plan your estate needs can mean that the government gets more of your hard-earned money than expected instead of your heirs.
You may be surprised what your estate is worth. Add up the value of all your assets, and don’t forget life insurance that may fall into your estate. If your total value exceeds the exemption amount, it’s wise to consider looking into a few simple planning techniques that could save your family money. In addition, there are some effective estate planning ideas that could help cut down your current income tax bill.
Current law allows a yearly “gift” of up to $14,000 per year and adjusted annually for inflation.1 Once looking further into the law, the exclusions and special arrangements when giving to a spouse, child, or non-family member make this much more complicated and should be looked at thoroughly.
A stream of income during retirement could possibly be your current house and could take the confusion out of passing a property from your estate. When looking at who to pass the estate to, it could be someone different than your spouse so you can potentially avoid estate taxation.
Life insurance death benefits are most often received tax-free, but that could have changed during the life of the policy. Before going directly to the insurance company, the beneficiaries need to make sure the policy is in good order to receive the lump sum without adding to the estate’s bottom line.
For 2020, a person can pass up to $11.36 million and a couple can pass $23.16 million on to their heirs without triggering the federal “estate tax.”2 There are ways to soften the blow of an estate tax, such as gifting or setting of revocable and irrevocable trusts.
A very common question when starting estate planning is looking at a trust versus a will. During our planning process, this is usually the first topic we cover when getting into the recommendation phase.