Estate planners often have a tough time trying to structure plans for couples since they have to balance their tax obligations and other objectives.
However, despite these difficulties, the vast majority of couples usually have the same objectives when it comes to actually sitting down and hashing out an estate plan. These commonalities make it easier for a planner to actually figure out the best structure for a plan.
Helping Loved Ones: One big planning objective for a couple when it comes to estate planning is to just provide for the people they love. This is usually the most important objective for couples because they want to ensure their family members will be taken care of if they become incapacitated, or once they pass away. Most couples will want to make sure an estate plan properly addresses a surviving spouse, children, and other relatives.
Reduce Taxes: Many people sitting down for estate planning want to cut down on taxes. This ensures a maximum amount of assets are going to people they love to provide care and comfort. Most couples are going to be want to can reduce their federal and state estate tax obligations, along with applicable income taxes.
Staying Private: Couples also come up with estate plans in order to maintain a sense of privacy. This is especially important with older couples because of a rash of criminal schemes targeted towards this population. The idea of privacy with an estate plan is a concept that is used to protect a surviving spouse from a targeted scheme because the money or other assets has already been accounted for.
Asset Control: Another objective with an estate plan is to simply just maintain asset control for a certain period of time. Most couples will want to turn over their assets to their children, but this must be weighed against potential creditors down the road.
Asset control is important for some because of worries that heirs or children might not be responsible with wealth that is passed onto them. Therefore, asset control in an estate plan is part of a strategy to maintain order about how a couple’s assets are dispersed.
Simplicity: People crafting an estate plan want it to be simple and cheap. This can be difficult if a couple has a lot of objectives to go through, but a good estate plan can be written and signed with a minimal level of complexity if the right people are working on it. However, it is also important to understand that an estate plan is a very important document, and simplicity might not be the smartest move in this area.
Incapacity: Many couples are also thinking about incapacity when it comes to an estate plan. This means a good plan is going to encompass a power of attorney and other directives related to medical care, in case they are needed. Some people who are in charge of businesses or other endeavors might also need to write in succession planning directives and generally craft a more detailed and complex estate plan.
Keeping these objectives in mind when it comes to an estate plan can help both couples and planners stay on the right track and work together productively. Knowing what your objectives are can make it a lot easier for a planner to work with you to meet your needs.
Do you have a question about couples estate planning? Click here to contact the experts at Hunsberger Dunn LLP today!