With the right legal documentation, you can dictate the disposition of your assets and bypass probate. With the right paperwork, you can target your beneficiaries and charities of choice with strings attached that can give you control, even from the grave. Death is not the end, if you have a great estate attorney.
Avoiding probate administration is the first key to securing control over your assets when you die, even if you have a small estate, but you’re going to need an attorney. You’ll need to meet with two to three attorneys and question them just like a job interview. Your attorney should be someone you are comfortable with and with whom you can communicate freely. Even more important, your attorney must be someone you can trust, and you need to have a family meeting sooner rather than later.It’s never good to generalize, but in estate planning men usually want to pay the least in taxes and women want to distribute their assets equally among their children. But sometimes executing your goals inadvertently causes unforeseen problems. Paying the least amount in taxes at transfer may unintentionally leave spouses and/or children with little to no asset liquidity or inadequate income. So you can’t always defeat transfer taxes at any cost.
It can be difficult to treat children equally if you have a black sheep in the family. So you need to make arrangements that delay their portion of your estate until such time (if ever) they become responsible. But it’s not just dealing with a bad seed in the family, it’s dealing with spendthrift children who would burn through your money like kindling. So you may need to piece meal their inheritance on a monthly basis over a very long period of time. What happens if your in laws become outlaws? If Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Wrong,
you need more than a prenuptial to separate your assets from him and your bloodline. Now get ready for future shock! Your bloodline in your lifetime (by the virtue of living longer) may extend to great grandchildren. Now we’re addressing four generations of asset transfer that many baby boomers will endure.
For some people charitable giving is a major consideration in their asset-transfer planning. Even those who have big hearts, but small
wallets, can enjoy funding their favorite non-profits with strategies that can multiple their gifts. It’s all about who receives your money and under the terms that you dictate, even from the grave.
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Syndicated financial columnist Steve Savant hosts the weekly video talk show for consumers entitled, Right on the Money and anchors the weekend news update On the Money News.
Steve is also the host of the daily producer show, Thought Leaders. Steve is of the top online author and videographer of... More