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Important considerations when estate planning

Rochester residents who are thinking about their estate plan might wonder how various changes to the political climate and other variable factors might affect them and their families. Tax implications, attempts to preserve assets, and the details that go into drafting estate planning documents will all come to the forefront. For example, the estate tax has been frequently mentioned as something that many would like to abolish. However, there is sometimes confusion with the estate taxes in comparison to capital gains taxes. Bearing that in mind, those who are considering an estate plan must be knowledgeable as they move forward.

The goals of the plan are key. Knowing the desired end result is and determining how best to accomplish it can be facilitated by determining where the assets and properties are to go. One person might be interested in philanthropic activities; another might want to take care of his or her family. Those with wealth will be concerned with the best possible way to pass that wealth along. An asset protection trust could be of greater benefit than simply passing the wealth on outright. The beneficiaries will sometimes have certain requirements they must adhere to as terms of the estate plan. There could be an age requirement for control of the beneficiary. It could be directed at particular goals such as education or business.

Income taxes and other tax implications are a constantly looming presence for anyone with assets that will be distributed after death. Retirement plans and other future income, stocks, businesses and high-end investments will all need to be accounted for. Many are interested in philanthropic endeavors. This too can be affected by taxes. The structuring of the gifts and donations are key. A business and its succession might lead to concerns as to who runs it and the goals. In some cases, the testator would like the business sold.

These are some of the matters that a person who is taking steps with estate planning will need to think about. It can be overwhelming even to those who have experience in financial considerations, trying to preserve assets and more. Because of that, a legal professional who is well-versed in all aspects of formulating an estate plan can be of immense benefit.

Source: Kiplinger.com, "Is Estate Planning Dead?," Andrew Bass, Dec. 23, 2016

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