The new year is the perfect occasion to finally take control of your and your family’s future and financial security in the event of your death or incapacity. If you are a careful life-long saver, real estate or equities investor, business owner, inheritor, or working professional, there are little-known strategies – secrets if you will – to plan for the second half of life to avoid probate and death taxes, protect your home and life savings from nursing home expenses, and prevent an inheritance from escaping your family bloodline.
THE SECRETS IN A NUTSHELL
There are several ways to avoid probate, including joint ownership of property, using destinations and transfer-on-death deeds, gifting property, and establishing a recoverable trust. The right combination of these strategies will provide sure-fire protection, but a wrong decision here can result in disaster.
1. A properly drafted power of attorney, with enhanced powers, can help your family protect assets even after a nursing home admission of a loved one. Most online forms and documents don’t address this feature, leaving your family at risk.
2. There are substantial differences between wills and trusts that most people fail to consider or even understand. Worse yet, do-it-yourself and online documents simply give you the tools to commit moral malpractice. A plan, tailored to your specific objectives, takes time with the guidance of an experienced professional.
3. There are little-known strategies available to reduce your financial burden for nursing home expenses of $8,000 (or more) per month without buying long-term care insurance and giving everything to your children now.
4. You can ensure the optimum stretch-out, asset protection, and management of your unspent IRAs, 401 (k)s, and other retirement plans you leave your children.
5. The remarriage of a surviving spouse often results in a disinheritance of children of the first spouse who dies. Most people don’t even consider the possibility and will accidentally disinherit their children. With proper guidance and an understanding of local and federal laws, this can be completely avoided.
6. Planning for yourself or family members with special needs (disabilities) is crucial to prevent an individual from being inadvertently removed from government assistance programs designed specifically to protect the most vulnerable in our society. A complete estate plan will provide for this contingency just in case a child or grandchild suffers a disability in the future.
7. Outright distributions to children or other beneficiaries are likely to result in losing an inheritance to divorce, creditors, predators, or destructive personal habits. Most inheritances are lost or spent in just a few years. This can be prevented with the use of continuing trusts tailored to the needs of your beneficiaries.
8. Although the federal estate tax has traditionally hit only 0.2% of Americans, you might be impacted (yes, even under the new federal tax reform) if you are a business owner, rancher or farmer. Trust planning, especially for married couples, can minimize or eliminate the estate tax more effectively than even “portability” under the tax code.
9. With a carefully designed, advance plan for business or farm/ranch succession, you will avoid enormous challenges in achieving your objectives. Procrastination is your enemy.
HELP FOR YOU
There are resources available that families can use to deal with these deeply complex issues. Local workshops by South Dakota estate planning professionals, are available to pre-qualified individuals addressing in detail these secrets and strategies available to provide security for you and your family. These workshops are informative and sign-ups are available now, followed by individualized no-obligation consultations to evaluate your unique estate planning needs and solutions.