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Five Tips for Getting Your Estate Plan Right

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 22, 2014

There are many different ways to do an estate plan, and many of them are “right.” They keep you from getting hit hard with estate taxes after death, they make sure that designated items get to the right people, they provide for the next generation.

But they may not do all those things as efficiently as they could. So how do you correct that? How do you make the little nips and tucks that make your estate plan as efficient and effective as possible? Here are five tips:

  • Transfer Your Real Estate Into Your Trust. One of the many cool things about having a trust is that you can put real estate located in different states into one trust.  That way you avoid probate in multiple states.
  • FLIP your investments. It is my understanding that when individually owned stocks and bonds are transferred to a family limited partnership (FLIP) you may receive a 35 percent discount under current tax laws. Our firm does not provide tax advice. So, you should consult with your personal tax advisor on this issue.
  • FLIP your properties. If you have income-producing real estate, you can get the same discount for it that you receive for stock and bond investments when you put it into a family limited partnership. Once again, consult your personal tax advisor.
  • Set up a gifting program. Take advantage of the $14,000 a year you can gift tax-free to family members. You can do this for each of your children and grandchildren. You can also stipulate that if your children get divorced, an ex-spouse will not share the wealth.
  • Save for Life. No estate tax is actually due until the second death, second-to-die life insurance makes sense for some people in the right circumstance and allows for additional savings.

 Not all of these steps make sense for everyone, but if they work for you, you can save more for your family without any extra effort on your part.

Over the past 27 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

Christopher Benson

About the Author Chris served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
Seattle/S. King County for 10 years and served as Vice President
of the organization during part of that time. Read More