My New Year's Resolution: A Well Thought Out Estate PlanFrank Stepp, SVP Thompson & Associates
Good estate planning is about much more than just avoiding taxes. A good estate plan is one that ensures your wishes are carried out in a manner that promotes your values and is beneficial for your heirs.
For example, did you know that a Credit Shelter Trust (“CST”) established upon the death of the first spouse can provide asset protection for the surviving spouse and then for your heirs? We have identified nine reasons that a CST may be very beneficial for your estate plan even if federal estate taxes are not an issue for you. Does your plan include a CST? Should it?
Also, were you aware that you have options for passing your income tax-deferred accounts to your heirs in a manner that could save them tax dollars and help them manage the inheritance more wisely, and result in a larger gift to them? These are two of many thoughts for discussion when it comes to estate planning.
When it comes to estate planning, most people's primary concerns are avoiding taxes and putting the inheritance in the hands of their heirs as fast as possible. They never consider the many options available to them that can achieve their other goals, and even be a statement of their values to those they leave behind. A well thought-out estate plan will do both.
Be proactive and take the time to have your estate plan documents reviewed by a professional. And if you do not have any estate plan documents, let that be your first New Year's resolution.