A prominent Seattle tax attorney revealed to me that Inheritance Tax planning is not normally a priority amongst those of retirement age. This “voluntary” tax, better known as estate tax, is responsible for filling the federal coffers with billions of dollars every year. You would think people would be more attentive to this matter, especially since there are ways to limit how much of your estate goes to Uncle Sam rather than your chosen beneficiaries. The lawyer who shared these insights with me also mentioned some other important issues that people overlook when planning their estate; especially the futures and feelings of their beneficiaries. Please read on to benefit fully from this excellent advice from a Seattle tax attorney.
Seattle Tax Attorney Reveals Benefits of Careful Estate Planning
There are many benefits that come with careful estate planning. First and foremost on most people’s minds when planning their estate is usually avoiding taxes so that they can leave as much as possible to their beneficiaries. This of course is a normal and necessary part of planning an estate, and there are as many strategies as there are lawyers forming them. The Seattle tax attorney in question though, revealed some other vitally important issues that could be avoided by estate planners, but often are not. In fact he considers them of even more value than the taxes that a Seattle tax attorney can save you. Let’s take a look at the potential intangible benefits of careful estate planning as put forward in these tips by a Seattle tax attorney.
Seattle Tax Attorney Tip #1
View planning your estate as a way to preserve and assert your goals and values. If for instance you hold a good education in high esteem, set up a special trust that will ensure the education of your children. If there are charities in your area that reflect your personal values, leave a donation to them. Some may have children who have worked tirelessly with them in the family business. Our Seattle tax attorney suggested setting up a plan of succession that will eventually place control of the business in the hands of your child.
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Seattle Tax Attorney Tip #2
Be meticulous in your selection of trustees or a personal representative. Our Seattle tax attorney shared with us that in his experience many people automatically select the eldest child as their personal representative. This he said is not always necessarily the best thing to do. “In my experience” he said, “the most successful and drama free estate settlements I have been involved with were those in which the child with the best track record of responsibility was selected as the deceased’s personal representative.” “Whatever you do” he continued, “DO NOT place one sibling in charge of another’s trust – unless you want to destroy their relationship.” If you feel one child is too irresponsible to manage their inheritance, rather than fuelling or instigating sibling rivalry, place it in the hands of a professional.
Seattle Tax Attorney Tip #3
Be specific when defining the discretion and assigning the duties of your trustees. The Seattle tax attorney was adamant that on should be very clear on the information and issues trustees should consider when using their discretion to distribute trust holdings. This will avoid disputes between trust beneficiaries and the trustee. The best combination of trustees in his opinion is; a professional in conjunction with an empathic, responsible, grounded family member.
Seattle Tax Attorney Tip #4
Distribute your estate equally among your heirs. The equal disbursement of your estate will help to avoid resentments between your children. This will preserve the relationships between them while making it clear who receives what, and that you value them all equally. Make sure to include a clause of “no contest” in your will, and our Seattle tax attorney suggested specifying the allocation of any expenses or taxes among the beneficiaries.
Hopefully you can see the value of these tips given to us by the Seattle tax attorney we consulted. This advice is a result of his having over 20 years experience in handling estate and inheritance tax issues, as well as having a genuine concern and empathy for those in such situations. Not only can hiring a qualified and experienced Seattle tax attorney save you money, it could save your family from much unnecessary heartache once you’re no longer there to guide them.