This topic concerns inheritance tax and gift tax and disposal of one's estate upon one's passing away
* ToD accounts
* A/B Trusts
* Charitable grants
* Estate Valuation Discounting through FLPs
* Gift Tax Planning
* Charitable donations
A Will and a Trust should be written by an attorney. A financial planner should integrate the financial aspects of estate planning with the legal work of the attorney who will write up the wording for the Will and the Trust.
This topic is important. Suppose that Mr. X passes away and in his will it says "give all my assets to my brother". If the brother passed away a month later due to jointly sustained injuries in a car crash, etc., then their two estates might be double taxed (because each death is a separate inheritance tax event), and since estate tax is about 50%, this would mean a 75% tax.
If Mr. X dies with a substantial IRA account his estate must declare the funds from the IRA are income and pay income tax on it and then also pay inheritance tax, which could be a 75% combined tax. With attorney's fees and court costs, a person who dies without a Will while owning a large IRA account could lose much more than 75%.
Also, if a person who has minor children dies they should have a guardian named in the will. Everyone should ask an attorney (and a financial planner) for advice about wills and trusts. If someone dies without a trust their assets go through a court procedure called probate which is slow, costly, and lacks privacy. By having assets held by a trust, then those assets do not go through probate. By designating someone as an IRA beneficiary, then the IRA ownership goes from custodian to beneficiary without going through probate when the owner dies. So even if you have a modest net worth, a Revocable Family Trust for estate planning purposes can save money and trouble. Only an attorney should write up a Will or a Trust, do not attempt to do it yourself.
Donald Martin, CFP®
1000 Fremont Ave. Ste. 260H, Los Altos, CA 94024
Telephone (650) 949-0775