This blog contains a brief summary of four important estate planning techniques for you and your family to consider.
- Make Sure Basic Estate Planning Is Done. Do something. Meet with an attorney – most attorneys will give you a free informational consultation, or attend a seminar. Anyone with children should have, at a minimum, a Will that names a guardian for their children. Preferably, you will have all of the basic documents in place: a will, a general power of attorney, a living will and authorization forms.
- Create and Fund a Revocable Living Trust. A living trust gives you far more control than any other estate plan. It may help avoid probate at death, prevent court control of assets at incapacity, provide maximum privacy to your family, allow for an efficient distribution of assets to your beneficiaries and prevent unintentional disinheriting in the case of subsequent marriages. However, a trust is only effective to the extent it is funded – so you must fund it.
- Utilize Beneficiary Designations Wisely. Make sure you have named, and updated, the beneficiary designations on your 401(k) and 403(b) plans, your life insurance policies and your IRAs. Additionally, to the extent you can, convert traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. This strategy may eliminate the income tax that you or your heirs would have to pay when withdrawing the funds and delay the requirement to take yearly minimum distributions, thereby leaving more money in your estate.
- Engage in Medicaid Planning Sooner Rather than Later. The last thing you want is for your estate assets to get drained due to paying for an expensive long-term care facility for you or your spouse. You cannot avoid paying for long-term care simply by gifting your assets or by moving them into a trust. The Medicaid look-back time frame is 60 months, although it is pro-rated. Accordingly, if you think your family, rather than the government or a nursing home, should benefit from the fruits of your lifetime of labor, then the time to plan is now.
For assistance with any legal needs related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at email@example.com or 860.670.3535 now for a free consultation and planning session.