Deciding whether to leave an inheritance for your children impacts the amount you save, the retirement plans you choose. However, beyond your desire to leave some wealth to your children (or not), there are some essential personal financial issues to consider.
Consider your income needs
Some retirees mistakenly give away their retirement savings without considering their own income needs. Before you make gifts to others, important to assess how much to spend on yourself. We can help you determine how much you need to save and how much you can withdraw each year once you retire.
Be sure to take into account the impact of inflation and taxes and maintain a diversified portfolio of growth and income investments that can help your portfolio keep pace with inflation.
Plan for rising healthcare costs
The biggest risks to your retirement income and your children's inheritance are unexpected illness and high healthcare costs.
You can protect your assets from the costs of catastrophic illness with a long-term care insurance policy. However, these policies have a number of coverage limitations, so you should consider them carefully.
Outliving your nest egg
What if you outlive your retirement fund? When you are over 90 years old, your children and grandchildren may celebrate every birthday gratefully. But if you have spent your nest egg they may also be paying some or all of your bills. With longer life expectancies, it's important to try to manage retirement-plan withdrawals to avoid depleting assets during your lifetime, we can help you plan to ensure you do not run out of funds.
How to leave your legacy
Once you have considered all your options, there are several methods to pass along funds to your loved ones.
Gifting assets is one way to allow loved ones to make use of your money while you are still alive. Gifts qualifying for the annual exclusion from gift tax.
Create a trust
Trusts protect your children's interests, and the assets in them avoid probate (which maintains privacy). You can appoint a company—such as the one that helped you build the trust—or another knowledgeable and trusted person as the trustee to manage assets and control distributions from the trust.
An irrevocable trust is considered a gift, so you can't control it or take it back. With a revocable living trust, however, you own and control the assets while you are alive, then they pass to beneficiaries as part of your estate.
With life insurance, your beneficiaries receive the proceeds tax-free, without having to go through probate or worrying about stock market fluctuations. Fixed or variable annuities allow you to participate in the stock market through mutual funds or fixed-income investments and also have a life insurance component.
Estate planning legal details
Make sure you take care of the legal details to ensure your estate plan will work the way you want it to.
Review the beneficiaries on all accounts.
List secondary beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiary dies before you.
Your retirement accounts pass to beneficiaries without going through probate court, but if you leave a retirement account to your estate, it may have to go through probate before the assets can be distribute
Investment accounts without a joint owner or documented beneficiary may have to go through probate to change ownership, a potentially long and costly process.
Draw up a will.
Dying without a will (called "dying intestate") means that law determines how your investments are divided among relatives.
If you have no living relatives and no will, your assets escheat to the Crown.
The bottom line
The above suggestions may not be right for everyone, so it's important you speak to us to determine which make the most sense for you. Evaluating distribution options for your nest egg will help ensure your wishes are followed while maximizing flexibility for your heirs.
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