Smart Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs

Follow these ways of reduce inheritance taxes and probate issues for your heirs.

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The next excerpt is from Mark J. Kohler ’s book The Tax and Legal Playbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Entrepreneur Books

An incredible number of Americans die every year without any kind of estate plan set up, and this forces their own families in to the court system, where they go through the high cost and time delay characteristic of probate proceedings. Actually, a lot more than 50 percent of Americans don’t have even a will or any kind of estate plan. So does everybody ought to be scared right into a revocable living trust (RLT)? Definitely not!

There are three significant reasons to implement an RLT:

1. You have provisions you really should implement for minor children or children that become minors and also have special needs for managing their finances;

2. You want for your family in order to avoid probate because you possess an individual residence, business, or rental properties; or

3. You intend to minimize estate tax with a marital bypass trust.

An excellent estate plan typically includes an RLT, in addition to a number of ancillary documents for instance a will, powers of attorney for finances and healthcare, an advance medical directive or living will, burial instructions, a directive for organ donation, final instructions, etc.

Among the key known reasons for using an RLT is in order to avoid probate, this means avoiding attorneys, judges, courts, and the state sticking their noses in to the family affairs. Probate is actually the court’s procedure for determining if the will is valid, then executing its provisions. If there isn’t a will, then your court distributes the assets according to convey law.

Furthermore to helping your loved ones avoid probate, the RLT becomes the instructions for the way the estate is usually to be distributed among the beneficiaries. The procedure is administered by the trustee you appoint and avoids a significant amount of wasted money and time spent going right through court.

To make sure the trust does its job, it requires to be funded by holding title to four main assets:

1. Property (typically your individual residence),

2. Entities (such as for example corporations and LLCs for rentals),

3. Investment accounts (including retirement accounts with see-through provisions)

4. Life insurance coverage (in order that minor children receive it constructively).

Estate Tax and the A-B Trust Strategy

In the late hours of December 31, 2012, lawmakers in Washington, DC, passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Beneath the “fiscal cliff legislation,” since it had become known, the estate and gift tax exemption was set at $5 million. Therefore the first $5 million of an individual’s estate could be inherited (at death) or gifted (during life) before any estate or gift tax arrives. This exemption amount is adjusted every year for inflation. Now in 2019, the estate and gift tax exemption is $11.4 million per individual. Therefore a person might leave $11.4 million with their beneficiaries and pay no federal estate or gift tax, while a married couple under an A-B (bypass) trust structure should be able to shield $22.8 million.

With a marital bypass trust, also known as an A-B Trust, a married couple may take benefit of both personal exemptions, thus doubling just how much they are able to leave with their family without estate tax. That is a particular trust that creates two subsequent trusts upon the death of the first spouse, and thereby doubles the estate tax exemption. Obviously that is a very complex facet of estate planning and is normally only undertaken whenever a family’s net worth is a lot more than $11 to $12 million in 2019.

Creative Provisions for Children

Many parents and grandparents don’t realize how creative they may be in distributing their assets upon their passing. Here are some options to consider:

  • Require your trustee to carry children’s inheritance in trust until they reach age 25, 30, or 35. Give it to them in stages, e.g., a third at age 25, a third at age 30, and the ultimate third at age 35.
  • Use a joint trust for minor children before oldest reaches age 18, then split the trust into individual trusts for every child. This helps it be easier for the trustee to control the trust as the children are minors. When different children pursue business, education, marriage, as well as world travel, their trust is accounted for separately from others.
  • Consider getting the trustee supply the guardian of your kids a specific amount every month to deal with the living costs of your minor children (room, board, clothing, school supplies, etc.). It may be something similar to $1,000 per month, adjusted for inflation by the date of your trust.
  • Place restrictions on inheritance if there’s drug or alcohol abuse. A lawyer can insert a provision that prevents a distribution to any child with an abuse problem and invite for the trustee to carry their funds in the trust until they have their life in order.
  • Supply the inheritance in matching funds, distributing $1 for each and every $1 the kid earns.
  • Provide them with a bonus for graduating from certain degrees of college or never let full distribution until they get yourself a certain level of advanced schooling. However, still distribute funds for school or any secondary education program, skills program, etc.
  • Distribute funds for education. Or use their GPA as a “carrot”: Distribute funds only when children maintain the very least GPA that you set. You might tie funds for tuition or books to GPA to keep the children centered on finishing school, instead of becoming career students.
  • Distribute a degree of funds for a marriage.
  • Distribute funds to start out a business upon the presentation of a satisfactory business intend to the trustee. Name a board of advisors to approve any small company or investments by the kids.

For those who have a kid whom you’d prefer to disinherit from your own estate, don’t just leave their name from the will and think this will accomplish your targets, as the laws generally in most states will presume you designed to have them inherit if you don’t specifically state otherwise. Following your partner, your children will be the presumed heirs to your estate for legal reasons in the lack of an estate plan. Because of this, it’s important to add a complete list of your kids in the estate plan also to specifically mention any child who’ll not be an heir by stating something similar to, “It’s the intention of the settlor [you] to disinherit the next child from the estate.” It’s that easy; just clearly indicate on paper that you specifically intend them never to inherit your estate

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