No one likes to spend time thinking about who will get their assets after they die, which is one of the reasons why so many people put off estate planning until later in life. But it doesn’t have to be a depressing or morbid undertaking. Knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of financially after your death can actually be comforting and give you one less thing to worry about.
No estate plan is perfect, but if you take the time to think about some important issues and make the right decisions, you can come up with one that closely reflects your wishes – provided you avoid the four estate planning mistakes below.
If you’re under 30 and have few assets, you may assume that estate planning is not worth it for you yet. Wrong. There’s more to the process than deciding which sibling gets your valuable coin collection. A living will and health care surrogate document can – and should – be made at any age: if you get into a serious accident or suffer an illness that sends you into a coma, an agent/surrogate that you designate can make important medical decisions on your behalf.
Although we like the idea of leaving our loved ones financially well-off, some people are unable to manage money properly and run through their inheritances within a short period of time. Your estate plan can include a trust fund that doles out the money in a way that leaves the beneficiary financially stable.
If you intend to leave behind assets of considerable value, don’t forget about the estate taxes that may be levied against them. The IRS allows you to “gift” your beneficiaries assets worth up to $14,000 per year (as of 2015) while you’re still alive without gift tax consequences, so a lifetime gifting plan may be an option. An estate planning attorney can help you make this decision. Another type of tax to consider involves that on capital gains. Proper planning with a qualified Florida estate planning attorney can help to minimize capital gains tax consequences.
Because life can be unpredictable, your estate plan needs to be regularly updated. If you marry, have children, divorce, suffer a health crisis, or undergo any other major event, it all needs to be factored into your plan. Federal and state laws also change, so review your plan with an attorney at scheduled intervals.
We can help you put together a plan tailored for your current circumstances, and work with you to update it over time. Please contact us today to learn more!