Inheritance Planning: The Legacy Equation

inheritance planningWhen you get involved in an endeavor, you can look at it in one of two ways. If you are not particularly passionate about it, and you just want to get by, you could stick to the bare basics. On the other hand, if you take the matter very seriously, you can go all out and act in a fully comprehensive manner.

This type of equation enters the picture when you are engaged in the process of inheritance planning. You could implement a bare-bones estate plan if you want to, but you could take things a step further and engage in the process of legacy planning.

Let’s look at some of the components that would typically be addressed in a broad-based legacy plan.

Inheritance Planning & Asset Transfers

Any type of inheritance planning is going to involve the facilitation of postmortem asset transfers. If you want to go the easy route, you could slice up pieces of a pie via the terms of a last will.

For some people with very simple estates, this could be acceptable. However, if you want to make sure that all of your loved ones are provided for in the optimal manner, you may want to dig deeper.

There are numerous different ways to get assets into the hands of your loved ones. The optimal course of action will vary depending on the circumstances, and the best asset transfer method for one person may not be appropriate for the next.

For example, what if you have a spendthrift in the family? This person could squander a direct inheritance quickly, and later on, things could get quite difficult.

There are different types of trusts that can be used to protect a spendthrift heir. A very simple solution would be a revocable living trust. In the trust agreement, you could instruct the trustee to use discretion to distribute assets in a certain way over an extended period of time.

Taxation is another matter. If you have been very successful from a financial standpoint, the estate tax could be a factor for you. There is a federal estate tax, and it is applicable on asset transfers that exceed $5.45 million.

We practice law in Florida. In our state, there is no state-level estate tax, though many states do have state-level estate taxes. A lot of people in and around Naples moved here from states in the Northeast like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.  There are state-level estate taxes in these states. As a result, even if you are a resident of Florida when you pass away, state-level estate taxes could be a factor if you own valuable property in a state that has an estate tax.

If you are faced with estate tax exposure, there are steps that you can take to preserve your financial legacy for the benefit of your loved ones.

These are a couple of different circumstances that could exist, but there are many others. You should act in a fully informed manner when you devise your legacy plan so that everyone that you love is provided for in the appropriate manner.

Things That Money Can’t Buy

Monetary matters are important, but there are also matters of the heart and soul. You may have family heirlooms in your possession. These items possess enormous power on many different levels.

When you pass them along to your heirs, you are preserving the history of your family.

Speaking of history, you could also share family memories with your loved ones in writing. You are a link in the chain, and your memories could die with you if you do not record them for the benefit of your younger family members.

An ethical will can also be part of your legacy plan. Since biblical times, people have been authoring ethical wills to leave behind moral and spiritual values.

Charitable Giving

If you are in a position to give to charitable causes when you are crafting your legacy plan, you will always be remembered for your generous nature. There are a number of different ways that you can set aside assets for the benefit of worthy causes and institutions.

The Gift of Education

Education is the key to a successful future. You will be investing in your family’s future if you provide educational opportunities for your younger family members when you are creating a legacy plan.

Attend a Free Inheritance Planning Seminar

If you would like to take the first step toward developing a relationship with our firm, attend a free seminar. There are a number of dates coming up in the near future, and you can visit our seminar schedule page to obtain details and registration information.

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Act now.

Provide protection for yourself and the people you care for.

Take action before it becomes a race against time.

Rely on the Barbara M. Pizzolato, P.A. skilled estate team to shield your work and guide your loved ones.

We specialize in estate planning, incapacity planning, business planning, trust administration, and probate.

Take your first step by contacting us or attending a free estate planning event today.

Time waits for no one.

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