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Estate planning strategies for keeping your money in the family

Many Kent residents have heard of the estate tax and probate court, two items that understandably have negative connotations. For some people, avoiding probate and minimizing their tax consequences are desirable things. After all, depending on the situation, probate can be a time-consuming and expensive process that puts a lot of stress and confusion on a person's heirs. However, there are things that can be done before a person dies to help avoid time in probate court.

First of all, beneficiaries need to be named on important accounts. Retirement funds, life insurance and bank accounts should have beneficiaries listed. If they're not listed, the account can go to probate.

A trust is an estate planning tool that makes sense for a lot of families. An irrevocable trust may be able to offer many tax benefits. At this time of the year many people are in the spirit of giving to charity. Giving to a charity can decrease a person's estate value and can allow a person to give to causes that are important to them. A person can also gift $14,000 to a person each year tax free for recipients.

Although estate planning can seem like a depressing topic for many, it is important in making sure a person's assets are protected after their die. An estate planning attorney can offer advice as to how an estate can be protected for future generations. With a plan in place, residents of Kent can rest assured that their final wishes with regards to their hard-earned assets will be handled as they see fit.

Source:, "5 estate planning strategies to keep your money in the family", Maryalene LaPonsie, Nov. 19, 2015

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