Have a Large Estate? It’s Important That You Know These Planning Basics
By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
June 3, 2021
If you have a large estate, you likely want to protect what you’ve worked hard for your entire life. What happens to it after you’re gone is important for your legacy as well as for your family. Here are a few of the estate planning basics you should know.
Estate Planning: What Is It?
Estate planning is the process of choosing who receives your assets and who manages the responsibilities of your estate after you’re incapacitated or you’ve died. The main goal of estate planning is to ensure that any beneficiaries you designate receive the assets you want them to have, when you want them to have the assets, and doing so in a way that reduces gift tax, income tax, estate tax, and other taxes that can be taken.
The Basics of Estate Planning
There are basic elements of estate planning that you must complete to ensure that both you and your assets are protected and that things happen as you want them to.
These elements include:
Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney
You must designate someone to be your healthcare decision-maker in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself. This is where a healthcare power of attorney comes in handy.
You should also work with an attorney to create a living will that outlines what you want to happen regarding your life prolonging procedures medical care if you’re at an end-stage of life and are ill or unable to communicate your wishes. This can include decisions on things such as ventilators, feeding tubes life-sustaining medical interventions or life support interventions and whether you do or don’t want these things.
You should have documents like these drawn up at the same time as your will with the help of your attorney.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is similar to a healthcare power of attorney. It designates someone you select to make financial determinations for you in the event you cannot make them for yourself. If you don’t have a financial power of attorney, then no one will have the authority to handle decisions related to your investments or pay your bills in the event you are unable.
This is a crucial document for anyone who has large financial assets to have, so make sure to have this drawn up by your attorney at the same time you draw up your will.
Establishment of a Trust
You can transfer your assets to a legal entity called a trust while you’re alive or after your death. This document helps to establish control of your assets in a way that lines up with your express wishes. For example, trusts allow you to dictate how much one of your children benefits from your assets throughout their life. You can include stipulations of how assets are to be used or when they’re received.
Trusts protect your assets from being used in a way that you do not desire and can protect the assets from a beneficiary’s creditors or former spouses. It’s a must-have if you’re worried about the oversight of your assets after you die. With a sizable estate, trusts are something that you should absolutely discuss with an attorney.
With our 4-step unique proven process, leaving a legacy you can be proud of is easier than you think. The alternative can mean significant taxes, chaos, court, costs, conflict (litigation) and a host of unpleasant and destructive surprises. Don’t delay when it comes to making plans for your large estate. Talk to the professionals at Haimo Law today.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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