Estate planning can sometimes be a complex task for Massachusetts residents. However, by asking a series of questions, individuals may be able to determine what their plans will look like. The most important question to grapple with may be how an individual communicates with future heirs or others who may be tasked with administering an estate. Communication is important as not all heirs may receive an equal inheritance.
Additionally, not all heirs may receive the same types of assets, as some assets may be better suited to certain family members than to others. For some, getting money may not be as beneficial as receiving a piece of real property, while others may not be able to handle the management of a home. Those who believe that heirs are unable or not ready to manage their own finances may wish to put property in a trust.
Another question to ask is whether gifts are preferable to a bequest. This may be worthwhile for those who enjoy seeing someone’s life changed for the better with a cash gift or by being gifted a new home for themselves and their own families. Additionally, making gifts while alive could reduce the future estate tax burden in some cases.
Asking the tough questions may enable an individual to create an estate plan that maximizes the impact of each heir’s inheritance. By making gifts early or placing assets in a trust, it may limit the tax burden that heirs may face later. Anyone with questions about estate planning or how to create a plan may wish to consult an estate planning attorney who can suggest what types of documents are appropriate for a client’s particular circumstances.
Source: Forbes, “Estate Planning 101: Picking Your Heirs“, Larry Light, September 24, 2014
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