By planning your estate effectively, you can ensure a smooth transfer of your assets to your loved ones after you pass away.
One key goal in estate planning is to avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Use beneficiary designations
Some assets, such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts, allow you to designate beneficiaries. Upon your death, these assets will pass directly to the named beneficiaries.
Establish a living trust
Did you know that only less than half (46%) of Americans have drafted a will, much less a solid estate plan with a living trust? A trust allows you to transfer your assets into a trust during your lifetime and appoint a successor trustee to manage the assets after your death. Assets held in a living trust provide a more efficient and private way to transfer property to your heirs.
Holding property in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship can help your loved ones avoid probate. When one owner passes away, the property automatically passes to the surviving owner.
Make annual gifts
Consider making annual gifts to your loved ones within the gift tax limits to reduce the overall value of your estate. Learn about current gift tax laws to avoid any tax implications.
Keep your documents updated
Births, deaths, marriages, divorces and significant financial changes should prompt a review of your estate plan to ensure it accurately reflects your wishes.
Minimize your debts
Reducing your debts and ensuring that your estate has sufficient assets to cover any outstanding obligations can help streamline the probate process.
Avoiding probate in your estate planning can save your loved ones time and money. Proper estate planning is a responsible and considerate way to provide for your loved ones in the future.