"Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh died without a will, reports say. Here’s why you should plan for your own death"
I am not an attorney, as my wife (who is a lawyer) often reminds me. So seek appropriate legal counsel for your estate planning needs. (PLEASE see a REAL, live person, in the state where you live...don't fill out a form online!) There are, however some general guidelines on what the plan might entail, outlined below.
As an executive, it’s likely that you’re feeling the pressure of putting together an estate plan. Because of the unique way you may be compensated as an executive, there are details to identify that not everyone else needs to focus on.
Your accumulation of assets is more than likely in a variety of contexts including real estate, private equity or taxable investment accounts. Because these forms of wealth often come with complexities when transferring finances to your beneficiaries, it’s important to make a conscious effort to disperse your wealth properly.
What is Estate Planning?
An estate plan clearly defines what should happen with your wealth and your physical well-being should you die, or become incapacitated. The objectives of such planning include ensuring your beneficiaries receive most of your estate, paying the least amount of taxes on your estate and assigning guardians to any minor children, if necessary.1
What To Prepare
It’s true, every good plan starts from the beginning stages of planning, so let’s jump into the basics that every thoughtfully developed estate plan should consist of.
- Power of Attorney
- For property
- For healthcare
- Revocable trust
- Guardianship delegations (if applicable)
Your best option, especially if you have a significant amount of wealth and assets to consider, is to work directly with an estate planning attorney in order to organize these details. They will assist you in addressing these aspects of your finances as well as discussing any complicated tax strategies in your plan.
Focus on Your Taxes
During your lifetime there are a number of different taxes that you’ll want to keep in mind. For example, the generation-skipping tax (GST) is applied in addition to either gift tax, if you’re still living, or estate tax, when you’ve passed.
One way to avoid the GST is to use 529 plans for your family members by gifting your grandchildren with educational funds. You’re able to use this plan for each child and a five-year multiple of the current gift tax exemption to make a lump-sum contribution.2
Keep Insurance In Mind
If you have life insurance it’s important to keep in mind that if the funds are made payable to your estate, they will be subject to any estate tax your other accumulated wealth will eventually be subject to.3 Make sure your beneficiaries are updated on all forms of insurance in order for the proceeds to go straight to them when the time comes.
You’re Not Alone
Estate planning can be difficult for anyone, let alone an executive such as yourself. Make sure you take the time to have conversations with family and financial professionals about how to go about it efficiently. The last thing you would want is for a large portion of your estate taxed at incorrect (higher) rates. Developing a plan with an advisor that addresses your estate and legacy after you’re gone can be hugely beneficial for you and your loved ones.
So when the shoe drops....and it will, please take care of those left behind while you're still here.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.