When planning your estate, one of the top priorities of beneficiaries is to pass as much wealth as possible onto their heirs. Your hard-earned money could be vulnerable to taxes and mismanagement if you don’t have some specific protections in place. Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure you are keeping your money in the family – and protecting where it goes when you are gone.
- Draw up a Will and Declare Beneficiaries
Creating a legally binding will is the first step in estate planning. Part of this process is naming beneficiaries for each of your assets. Having a will is vital to simplifying the probate process, which can be a long and expensive process for your loved ones to endure. When you don’t have a will, called dying intestate, probate is even more difficult and protracted. Not to mention, in an intestate probate, the final decision about where assets go is left up to state law and may not reflect your wishes or protect your legacy the way you would hope.
Many people chose to use an online will service, but one note of caution, these can be somewhat generic and don’t always protect you from changing state regulations. You will want to speak with a professional to ensure that all of your documentation is legally binding in the state of Georgia.
- Set up Trusts and Deeds
All trusts have their benefits. Irrevocable trusts typically offer the most tax benefits when passing on your cash wealth, business, and/or other assets; and they cannot be modified without beneficiary permission while revocable living trusts avoid probate and handle issues of incapacity if they arise..
- Convert Assets and Gift your Nest Egg
Take action now to ensure your money goes where you want it to. Converting your retirement accounts to Roth IRA accounts will conserve your money by providing tax-free withdrawals.
The IRS also allows up to $16,000 in gifts per person, per year. If you are looking to diminish estate tax upon your death, it may benefit you to give some of it away while you’re still living. However, there are benefits to transferring some assets after your death, so it’s practical to make sure to speak with an estate planning expert before moving assets around.
Ready to Protect your Assets?
The Estate Planning Attorneys at Smith Barid are available to advise Georgians about how to best protect their hard-earned assets for the future. Protect your family and prepare an estate plan that benefits you and your heirs starting today and lasting for generations to come. If you want to make sure your money is protected to serve you today and benefit your family without having to jump through hoops or letting the courts decide where your money goes, reach out to Smith Barid today.