The right strategies protect the wealth you build
The wealth you accumulate during life comes from hard work and careful planning, so it’s just as important to carefully plan how to preserve that wealth after you’ve passed on.
High-value estates can be subject to large tax penalties or high legal fees in probate if steps are not taken to protect those assets during life. It is important to come up with a wealth preservation strategy specific to you and your family’s individual needs. Effective wealth preservation may be achieved through a combination of insurance, trusts, gifts during an individual’s lifetime, and a legally sound will.
Trusts are perhaps the most important part of proper wealth preservation. An irrevocable trust is a type of trust that cannot be altered without a court order. Any sort of asset, including stocks, bonds, or real estate can be placed in an irrevocable trust. Annual gifts can be made to the trust without any tax consequences so long as they do not exceed IRS limitations. For adults, income from the irrevocable trust will be donated at the individual beneficiary’s tax rate rather than the grantor’s tax rate. Adding a spendthrift provision to an irrevocable trust can also ensure that a beneficiary cannot transfer his or her interest in the trust, ensuring that wealth can be passed on for generations to come.
The biggest advantage of an irrevocable trust is that assets put in the trust can avoid being tied up in probate. In addition, assets held in trust cannot be seized by the creditors of beneficiaries. The creation of a trust can be complicated though, so it is important to consult with an attorney experienced in wealth preservation and estate planning when considering a trust.
Gifts During Life
The best way to avoid paying high taxes on transfers of wealth is to make a gift of them while you’re still alive. While taxes may still apply to what’s known as an inter vivos gift, these taxes are often lower than estate taxes. Making an inter vivos gift will also keep the property out of probate, which can prolong the time it takes for the beneficiary to take possession of the property, and could also subject the transaction to costly legal fees.
Having a properly executed will is extremely important to ensure your wealth is distributed in accordance with your wishes. If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with intestacy provisions, and your property may not go to your designated beneficiaries. In Colorado, a valid will must be signed by two witnesses.
A will along, with other estate planning provisions such as a transfer-on-death deed, can protect your property and ensure it transfers to your loved ones with minimal cost to your estate. In the case of a transfer-on-death deed, this document allows real estate to stay in your possession during your lifetime, then pass to a designated beneficiary upon your passing without having to go through probate.
As every client’s situation is unique it is important to consult with an attorney before deciding which of these wealth preservation strategies is right for you.
Denver estate planning attorney David Osterman has a solid understanding of Colorado tax and estate laws that can impact your assets, making him a strong choice in assisting you with your wealth preservation plan. Contact us today online or at 303-759-3199 for a consultation.