You've spent a lifetime building your estate. Now it's time to decide how it will be distributed. Handing down your wealth is not as simple as writing a check or naming a beneficiary; you want to make the best decisions to preserve your financial legacy. Thomas Brockley, senior vice president and branch director at RBC Wealth Management, shares some tips on how to maximize your giving and ensure your wishes are followed.
Most people do not know where to begin making their estate plans. The more assets that you have, the more considerations you have to take into account when deciding how you want to distribute them in your estate.
The obvious starting point is to begin by hiring an experienced estate planning attorney.
It is often a good idea to go into a first meeting with an attorney with some idea about your options and what you might want the attorney to help you accomplish.
Recently, Forbes published an article titled "5 Tips For Handing Down Your Wealth."
Here is a snapshot of that advice:
- Consider using a charitable remainder trust if you plan on leaving money to charity. These trusts allow you to receive lifetime income from current assets and get a tax break. Whatever is left in the trust after you pass away will go to charity.
- A life insurance trust might be a good tool to keep a business in the family while providing needed cash for your family members in the form of life insurance while they are waiting for the estate to wrap up and distribute assets.
- You might want to set limits on how your heirs can use their inheritances to make sure that your wealth is not squandered.
- If you have a lot of assets, a professional trust manager might be a better option than naming a family member as a trustee.
- Make sure that beneficiary designations are up to date.
In the end, the experienced assistance of an estate planning attorney who has been there and done that will make the process much easier for all concerned.