A well-designed wealth transfer plan can help to seamlessly guide the movement of your assets from your estate to your beneficiaries. Your wealth transfer plan is an integral part of getting your finances together, but it is often overlooked. You do not need to be elderly or have a large estate to get a wealth transfer plan in order. A plan helps to ensure that anyone gets their wishes honored and their assets end up where they are supposed to be, helping to eliminate stressors between family members and keep court proceedings to a minimum. So, what does the wealth transfer planning process entail?
Wealth Transfer Planning: What Is It?
Wealth transfer planning refers to the process of planning out wealth and assets of a deceased person, typically distributing this wealth amongst their beneficiaries. Methods of wealth transfer usually include life insurance, wills, and trusts. The most common method is referred to as estate planning, which combines a will, trust, and life insurance policies.
A will is sometimes also referred to as a testament. The estate will be distributed according to what is written down on this document and the executor will be interpreting the document. This legal document has the distribution of personal and property written down.
Trusts are typically established to help with reducing estate taxes when property titles are transferred. There will need to be a designated trustee who will be able to act on the trust.
Life insurance is considered a tax-effective way to conduct a wealth transfer. This is because permanent life insurance provides cash value accumulation that is tax-deferred.
Review Your Assets
Step number one is reviewing your assets. You will want to list out your financial assets. This can include your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and brokerage accounts. You will also want to make sure you make note of where these accounts are held. Hard assets will also need to be listed out. This would include real estate or valuables that you own. An appraiser may be necessary in order to determine the value of what you own.
Once your assets are figured out, you can start the process of who you would like to leave those assets to. Typically, spouses and children are common beneficiaries. However, you can choose to leave your assets to anyone you prefer. You can also consider educational institutions and nonprofits.
Write a Will
A will is a type of legal document that puts your final wishes in writing. This ensures that your assets are legally transferred to where they need to go in the event of your passing. An executor will need to be named. This should be someone that you really trust, as they will be in control of properly distributing the items listed in your will. Wills can be very complicated, as well as confusing. A lawyer can help walk you through this process, as well as explain any terminology you may not understand to prevent confusion.
Understand Estate Taxes
Understanding estate taxes can be a tall order. But, it will be beneficial to you to have some understanding that you can act in your beneficiaries’ best interests. Most estates are not subject to estate taxes. There is no cap on the amount of people that you can give to.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Set Up a Trust and Help With My Wealth Transfer Plan?
Establishing a trust ensures that your assets will go to the right place after your passing, as well as provide finances for your loved ones. However, you may be wondering if you need a lawyer to help with your wealth transfer plan. While wealth planning can be done on your own, consulting with a lawyer will help prevent any mishaps from occurring and potentially causing larger issues down the road.
Legal Terminology is Complicated
Legal terminology is not always the easiest to understand, especially when it comes to wealth transfer planning. The associated terminology can leave people fumbling with their paperwork, as well as making crucial mistakes that could cost them later down the line. If you make just one error on any document, it could affect the future of your family
Saves You Time
Writing up a wealth transfer plan can take some time, especially if you are not familiar with legal language. Having to sift through documents, know exactly what to take care of next, and decipher terminology can lead to mistakes being made. However, it will also take away time for your family and other responsibilities. Instead, working with a skilled wealth transfer lawyer can take this burden off of your shoulders.
Updates May Be Required
Let’s face it; situations can change. The same is true when you are drafting up your trust. Maybe even, years down the line your living situation has changed to cause you to want to update your documents. You will want these changes to be made correctly and timely.
At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc., we provide counsel on:
- Family trusts
- Family business succession planning
- Philanthropic planning
- Tax review
- Gifts of business interests
Schedule a Consultation with a Wealth Transfer Planning Lawyer in California
At Galanti & Copenhaver, Inc. our team of dedicated lawyers works to provide you with peace of mind. Knowing that your family is effectively protected and your wishes for the future have been well established are at the forefront of the actions we take. Our experienced professionals treat every client as an individual, recognizing their unique concerns and situations that could affect their wealth transfer plan. Contact our team today to learn more about the services we provide and schedule an initial consultation.