How to keep your money within
Planning for your future is imperative for preserving and passing on your wealth. An estate plan will not only allow you to secure your earnings for your loved ones but also save money in estate taxes. When leaving an inheritance, your heirs may be subject to various estate taxes and fees associated with passing on assets. The idea of estate planning may seem unnecessary to some, whether due to non-marital status, not having children, or a perceived lack of assets. However, these are misconceptions that underestimate the value of your estate. Everyone, regardless of their family situation and finances, has an estate that can benefit from estate planning services. By seeking the expertise of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can preserve your estate, retain its value, and strategically plan for the future.
Why is estate planning significant? An estate plan enables you to decide who will inherit your assets, how they will be distributed, make plans for your funeral and burial, as well as select guardians for your children. For individuals in single households without children, spouses, or living relatives, estate planning becomes even more crucial as you need to consider the future of your assets and healthcare. Planning ahead ensures you are prepared for any sudden life changes.
Initiating a Trust
For individuals with substantial estates or concerns about their heirs' responsibility with inheritance, creating a trust and appointing a trustee for asset distribution is critical. There are many ways to set up a trust, but an irrevocable trust provides the most tax benefits. In an irrevocable trust, the money no longer belongs to you but to the trust itself, which protects it from estate taxes. Another way to ensure your money stays within the family is by setting up a dynasty trust, which safeguards the money within your estate for future generations and shields it from divorce, lawsuits, and creditor claims. In New York state, a dynasty trust remains effective for another 21 years after the death of the last person for whom the trust was created. This trust not only avoids estate taxes but also the generation-skipping transfer tax.
Retirement Accounts to Roth Accounts
Leaving heirs with traditional 401(k) or IRA accounts can result in substantial tax bills. Under current laws, non-spouse heirs are required to withdraw all the money within the account within a ten-year span, potentially leading to higher taxes due to the increased taxable income. Converting traditional accounts to Roth accounts can help avoid these tax burdens. While the amount converted is subject to regular income taxes, withdrawals from Roth accounts are tax-free, providing long-term tax savings.
Plan for Long-Term Care Expenses
Long-term care expenses can significantly impact your assets and financial well-being. Incorporating long-term care considerations into your estate planning can help mitigate these costs. One effective strategy is to explore long-term care insurance options that provide coverage for medical and care expenses in the event of a chronic illness or disability. Additionally, Medicaid planning allows you to structure your assets and income in a way that qualifies you for government assistance while preserving your estate. Setting up trusts, such as irrevocable Medicaid trusts, can protect assets from being counted for Medicaid eligibility purposes. Proactive planning for long-term care expenses safeguards your assets and ensures that you receive the necessary care without depleting your estate.
In conclusion, estate planning is a multifaceted process that can save you money and provide financial security for your loved ones. By considering the various aspects of estate planning, such as trusts, retirement account conversions, and long-term care planning, you can strategically manage your assets, minimize tax liabilities, and protect your estate. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial to ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your unique circumstances and goals. Take the first step in securing your financial future by contacting the Trust and Estate Planning Office at (718) 333-2395.