For many people, estate planning can seem intimidating but is ultimately relatively simple. Everyone needs an estate plan, but not everyone needs special arrangements to save on estate taxes or plan for business succession. Individuals and families who do need these more complex strategies may not know where to start. Below are a few advanced estate planning strategies. Before deciding a strategy is right for you, contact an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your options and your unique situation. An attorney can recommend the best course of action and make sure you understand every option on the table.
Generation-Skipping, Dynasty, and Grandchildren’s Trusts
Many transfers of wealth between family members can incur taxes that should be considered. However, there are several generation-skipping trusts and strategies that can be used to distribute assets to the younger generation without depleting the estate with hefty federal and state taxes. A generation-skipping trust, for example, allows individuals to leave $1 million to their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond without incurring a transfer tax. The amount will remain available to the individual’s spouse and the individual’s children as long as they are alive. A dynasty trust is similar to a generation-skipping trust, but lasts for over two generations. Finally, individuals can leave up to $10,000 each year to any other individuals, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren, without incurring gift taxes or other wealth transfer taxes. These gifts can be made to a trust to ensure younger generations are not left with large sums of money they cannot yet manage.
Special Arrangements for Businesses
Business owners may also take advantage of more advanced estate planning strategies. For example, business owners may begin to give their business interests to their children or beneficiaries to avoid estate taxes on the business. A way to do this without ceding control of the business is to issue non-voting stock to family members.