You’ve worked hard to create a secure life for your family. A sound financial plan, including trusts and estate planning, can help ensure a comfortable lifestyle for loved ones after you’re gone. With some forethought, you may be able to minimize gift and estate taxes and preserve more of your assets for those you care about.
A qualified financial and tax professional can help minimize taxes and maximize gains for your heirs with a comprehensive estate plan. Before your initial meeting, take some time to consider the following questions.
Communicating Your Wishes
- Do you have a will?
- Are you comfortable with the executor(s) and trustee(s) you have selected?
- Have you executed a living will or health care proxy?
- Have you considered a living trust to avoid probate?
- If you have a living trust, have you titled your assets in the name of the trust?
Protecting Your Family
- Does your will name a guardian to care for your minor children if both you and your spouse die?
- If you want to limit your spouse’s flexibility regarding the inheritance, have you created a Q-TIP trust?
- Are you sure you have the right amount and type of life insurance for survivor income, loan repayment, capital needs and all estate settlement expenses?
- Have you considered an irrevocable life insurance trust to exclude the insurance proceeds from being taxed as part of your estate?
- Have you considered creating trusts for family gift giving?
Reducing Your Taxes
- If you are married, are you taking full advantage of the marital deduction?
- Are you making gifts to family members that take advantage of the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion (adjusted annually for inflation)?
- Have you gifted assets with a strong probability of future appreciation in order to maximize future estate tax savings?
- Have you considered charitable trusts that could provide you with both estate and income tax benefits?