You worked hard to build up your estate in Walnut Creek over the years. Now, you have a few children, grandchildren and you may even have great-grandchildren on the way. It is your goal to make sure each of them receive a part of your estate, but you don't want to give it to them too soon.
Part of working through your estate plan is deciding on how to divide up your estate. You can leave parts of it to charity, leave behind trusts for your loved ones or simply allow the assets to go to your spouse. Whatever you decide, your attorney can help you guarantee that your estate plan is in line with the state laws and will work for your purposes.
What should you do if your estate is worth more than the $11.4 million exemption for 2019?
If your estate is worth more than the exemption, it's time to talk about giving away gifts and using trusts to shield your assets. If your estate is valued at over $11.4 million at the time of your death, any amount over the exemption limit is taxed heavily.
Trusts are one good way to eliminate the risk of being taxed. Irrevocable trusts, in particular, shield your assets by taking them out of your name and putting them into the trustee's care. They transfer to the beneficiary at the time of your death (in most circumstances), so they no longer belong to your estate. Other options are a generation-skipping transfer, or using charitable remainder trusts or private family foundations, all of which shield your assets against taxation.
Where do you start? There are so many aspects of estate planning
You're right. There are so many ways to protect your assets that it can be overwhelming to choose the right method. That's why it's a good idea to start estate planning with your attorney. Your attorney will talk you through the different ways you can shield your estate from taxes, and they'll help you choose the methods that seem most appropriate for your situation. You have heirs, beneficiaries and others to look after once you pass, so the goal should be to make sure your preferences are met and that everything you want to see happen does happen without any problems following your death.
Your attorney will do what they can to make sure your estate plan is secure, so you can relax and know that it will do your work for you.