Planning is important when it comes to your wealth. You can use your estate plan to transfer wealth to family members, accomplish charitable giving goals or to otherwise direct your assets according to your wishes. Without an estate plan, your heirs and beneficiaries may have to go through the probate process which can be lengthy and expensive.
Our role as your financial advisors is to help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and work with your legal and tax professionals to identify challenges and help you achieve your goals. With the right estate plan, your assets can continue to work towards your family and charitable giving goals.
Your estate plan is important, whether you have simple or complex needs the goal is simple: Provide the plan and framework for your lifetime of hard work to accomplish your goals and not be left to others or the probate process to decide.
Many people don’t worry about creating an estate because they assume their spouse will inherit everything automatically. Without an estate plan, other people may contest ownership. Even if your spouse prevails, it can be a long, burdensome and expensive process.
Here are key points to include in a strong estate plan:
When you create your estate plan, it’s not enough to name your beneficiaries in your will. Some assets, such as your retirement account, don’t become part of your estate. Therefore, we recommend keeping the beneficiary designations up to date.
Another part of estate planning is the transfer of your wealth to the next generation. Our financial planners can help you make the transition as smooth as possible, saving taxes and ensuring your wealth transfer happens based on your specific goals. You've worked hard to accumulate your wealth. We understand your desire to provide for your children and grandchildren, even after you are gone and can help create a strong estate plan that will help ensure your family benefits as much as possible from your hard work.
What’s the Difference between a Will and a Trust?When you leave assets to a beneficiary in a will, your beneficiaries will have control over those assets immediately and absolutely. A trust is helpful if you want to distribute your assets differently. For example, you can hold money in a trust fund until a dependent comes of age. You can also set up an annuity and provide a fixed income for a beneficiary instead of giving them a lump sum.
Which Documents Should Be Included in an Estate Plan?Your estate plan may include a will or a trust, information about your assets and instructions for accessing personal accounts, a living will, a power of attorney, and a life insurance policy. Your list of required documents may be different depending on the simplicity or complexity of your estate.
How Can I Avoid Probate in Estate Planning?You can potentially avoid some of the cost and time of probate by naming beneficiaries for all of your assets, setting up a revocable living trust, creating joint ownership of property, or gifting away assets during your lifetime. Our financial advisors can help you set up your estate plan to help your beneficiaries avoid dealing with probate.
Do My Heirs Have to Pay Taxes?Federal estate taxes only apply if your estate is greater than $12.06 million for 2022. Most states don’t levy estate or inheritance taxes, although some states have both. An estate plan can navigate the potential taxes your heirs face and help them keep most of the wealth you’ve accumulated for them.
Do I Need a Will If I Already Have My Beneficiary Designations?Beneficiary designations only work for certain assets, like retirement accounts. You must also understand that the beneficiary designation for your retirement account supersedes your will. Therefore, keep the beneficiaries up to date if you want your wealth to be distributed according to your wishes. A will covers your other assets, including real estate, heirlooms, and personal property, and how it will be distributed upon your passing.
We recommend working with our advisors to help you identify opportunities and achieve your goals. Bjork Asset Management can answer your questions and optimize your estate plan to ensure we cover every important aspect of your wealth transfer. Get in touch with our firm today to begin the estate planning process.
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