One thing that most of the world does not understand is the complications that arise in high-asset estate planning. Most people think that increased assets means nothing more than additional zeros at the end of every figure. This could not be further from the truth. As wealth increases, assets become more diversified, administrative costs increase and complications multiply.
For anyone looking to pass on wealth in an efficient manner, it is critical to consider every possible tool and option available.
These are three critical factors to consider when creating your estate planning strategy:
- Revocable living trust: While there are many trust instruments available for your estate plan, a revocable living trust provides efficiency and minimal cost, while adding privacy and control over the transfer, and minimizing the administrative costs of transfer at death.
- Non-taxable lifetime gifting: There are numerous ways to transfer gifts prior to the estate plan that can minimize taxes and other costs. The federal annual gift tax exemption has been raised to $15,000, per recipient, per year. This means that, if you have two children, and you want to give each of them $75,000, you could give each of them $15,000 per year for five successive years without triggering the gift tax or paying estate transfer fees. This approach takes some planning, but it is a tremendous efficiency for those who can maximize it.
- Avoiding probate: While this might seem like a simple and obvious estate planning strategy, do not underestimate its importance. The amount of added time and administrative cost involved with an estate going through probate is significant, and it only increases with the complexity of the estate itself, which means it is even more cumbersome for estates that are worth more.
These are just a few of the important steps you can take to maximize the efficiency of your estate plan and gifting strategies. The most important thing you can do is to work with a team of lawyers with the experience and reputation for successfully handling complex estate plans.