Estate Planning Goals

Setting and articulating specific goals is often a key step in making sure you have a firm idea of how you want your future to go.  By setting a goal, you have an identifiable end point, and you can identify what particular steps must be taken in order to make sure you and your family actually attain your objectives.  As with other tasks in life, it is important that you also identify your goals for your estate plan.  There are several common goals which you should consider.

First, consider whether your estate plan needs to make sure your loved ones are provided for.  Similarly, consider what kind of care these loved ones may require. For example, the type of provisions required for a minor child will be very different than the assets that may be required to help give your adult sibling a financial boost.  The types of assistance and who you need to assist will have a major impact on the specific estate planning tool you will need to use in order to make sure they are cared for properly.

Next, minimizing taxes is always an important goal to keep in mind.  If your estate is worth more than $5.6 million at the time of your death, then it could be subject to hefty estate taxes, which means that your assets will be used to pay taxes instead of passing to your chosen heirs.  Accordingly, an important goal for your estate plan should be to minimize estate taxes that need to be paid. This can be done by reducing the size of your estate by using trusts, making gifts, and a variety of other strategies.

Another important goal should to be to attempt to reduce the chance of unintended consequences.  It is not uncommon for well-meaning testators to leave large assets to a disabled relative.  The problem with this approach is that leaving assets to a loved one who receives state benefits, such as Medicaid, could be that the loved one will no longer be eligible to continue to receive those benefits.  You should keep the goal in mind to not end up causing trouble for your beneficiaries, even when you are attempting to help.

Let us help you set your estate planning goals. Call us at 651-413-9568 for a consultation