Most married people in the Brandon, Mississippi area make an estate plan that leaves all their assets to their spouse. At Palmer & Slay, we call this an “I love you” will. The couple loves and trusts one another enough to leave a lot of end-of-life decision-making and financial responsibility to whoever lives the longest.
While an “I love you” will can work well for a lot of people, there are some couples that should consider making other plans. Those with high-value estates, or who own a business, or have minor children, or care for someone with special needs, may want to consider more advanced estate planning tactics.
While married couples can generally pass an unlimited amount of money and other assets to their partner tax-free, an “I love you” will set-up prevents a wealthy couple from taking full advantage of the tax benefits of more advanced estate planning techniques.
Passing all assets on to the spouse wastes the first partner’s estate tax exemption. This is a big problem for sizeable estates who will have to pay up when the second partner passes away. Drafting an estate plan that passes assets to people or entities other than a spouse in order to take full advantage of the estate tax exemption is a must.
High net worth couples should also consider using trusts to pass their wealth on to the next generation, or to charitable organizations. Using trusts can minimize the tax burden an estate is hit with. It also gives the giver peace of mind knowing his or her intentions will be followed.
Business owners must be careful when drafting their estate plans. Passing all assets to their spouse could put their business in jeopardy. This is especially true if the business is co-owned by people who are not members of the family.
Business owners must do succession planning as well as estate planning if they want to properly protect the company they have built.
If you have minor children, or are the caretaker of a person with special needs, an “I love you” will won’t serve your family well. If, heaven forbid, you and your spouse die in an accident, you need to have an estate plan in place that protects the interests of the family members who depend on you for love and support.
Creating a trust that is funded by your estate, and works to benefit your minor children or loved one with special needs is a must. It is also important to name a guardian who can step in and care for these special people in your life.
Preserving Your Wealth. Protecting Your Loved Ones.
At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we are proud of the work we do to help families in the Brandon, Mississippi area meet their estate planning goals. Talking with our clients about their end-of-life expectations and the legacy they hope to leave helps us craft an estate plan that truly meets their needs. Please contact us today if you would like to schedule a meeting with our experienced estate planning team.