The simplest inheritance plan involves creating a will and dividing your property between your spouse, your adult children, and anyone else you want to include. But there are a lot more options available to you if you decide to create a more comprehensive plan. Thoroughly investigating these options and taking the time to ask your estate planning lawyer how different choices might benefit you and your family can make your inheritance plan much more effective. Consider the following options:
Instead of leaving property to distribute after your death, a lifetime gift allows you to give your property while you are still alive so you can watch your family enjoy it. You also get some specific tax benefits by giving lifetime gifts, though there are yearly and lifetime limit amounts you will need to be aware of.
You may also want to create an inheritance plan that gives your gifts over a period of years. For example, if you have an adult child you can choose to create an inheritance plan that gives the child a gift every year, or when the child reaches specific ages, such as 21, 25, or 30.
It can also be very effective to create a trust instead of giving direct gifts. Depending on the type of trust you choose, both you and your family might be able to take advantage of some considerable tax benefits. You should ask your attorney about what kind of trusts might apply to your situation.
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