Long Island Attorney Protecting Assets for Families through Estate Planning
A single individual can have over $5 million in assets before his or her heirs have to concern themselves with estate tax. This fact is what confuses individuals the most. They assume that, with such a high value, only the wealthy ever need to concern themselves with an estate plan. However, skipping over an estate plan – regardless of how big or small your estate may be – could be a big financial mistake.
The purpose of estate planning is to keep your money in your family. Even if you are single, you likely have family members to whom you would give your assets, such as surviving parents, siblings, or even a favorite cousin.
The state has no problem dictating who will receive your assets or, worse, taking a piece for themselves. After all, state’s tax rates are not the same as the federal tax exemption rate.
Five Ways You Can Keep Your Assets in Your Family
To protect your assets and ensure that they stay in the family, here are five tricks:
- Create a Will – If you do not have one yet, the best way to protect your assets and ensure that they go to family is by having an attorney draft an official will for you. Your will is still subject to probate court, and it should be structured in accordance with estate planning laws in Long Island; otherwise, the courts may not recognize it.
- Verify Your Designated Beneficiaries – Some assets may already have beneficiaries listed, such as with your checking account, retirement funds, etc. Check to see who you have named for each, and recheck them each year. Sometimes, a life change may occur that makes you want to change your beneficiary.
- Create a Trust – If your estate is large or you want to control how heirs manage the inheritance, you can have an attorney create a trust. A trust can be structured in several ways, including the irrevocable trust. In this instance, the trust would own the assets that you place in it, instead of your owning them. A trust will still pay taxes, but there are ways to minimize the burden.
- Take a Look at Retirement Accounts – Your retirement accounts are subject to tax if you do not have a Roth account. Avoid leaving a hefty tax burden on your beneficiaries by converting any traditional retirement accounts you have into a Roth account.
- Gift Away Money Now – If you are worried about taxes or you want to keep money with the family, you can gift people up to $14,000 per year without any federal tax penalties. These gifts can bring down your estate value, especially if it is worth more than the IRS threshold.
Speak with an Estate Attorney First
Before making any changes to your estate plan or retirement accounts, speak with an estate planning attorney in Long Island, New York. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can assist you with your accounts, protect heirs from hefty tax burdens, and more. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 516-605-0625, or request more information online.