This is an article from Zimmer Law Firm (https://zimmerlawfirm.com/) in Cincinnati, Ohio, that we thought others may find helpful.
Estate planning lawyers provide their clients advice with the creation of an estate plan that is tailored to your family’s situation. We help people of all ages and we understand how your life circumstances change as you get older. While it is essential for young people to have an estate plan in place, estate planning is something that most people think becomes more important as you get older. As you begin to age, the likelihood you will experience an incapacitating injury or the pass away increase, so if you don’t already have an estate plan in place, it becomes vital to create one.
Estate Planning Firms help seniors make a plan that addresses end-of-life issues and helps protect a legacy. This can be especially important for grandparents who want to provide a gift for their grandchildren or who want to pass a family business on to the next generation.
Estate Planning Advice for Grandparents
For many grandparents, decisions need to be made about how an inheritance will be provided to children and grandchildren. You’ll need to assess how you want to divide the assets you plan to leave for your loved ones and make sure that you use the proper tools to transfer those assets in the most efficient way possible.
If you have decided to leave money to your grandchildren, you may want more control over the inheritance than you would have if you simply stated your wishes in a will.
You may want to name a guardian for the funds until your grandchildren are old enough to manage the money and property on their own. It’s important for someone to be put in charge of managing the money if your grandchildren are underage. Children under 18 cannot inherit directly and the court may have to appoint a guardian for their inheritance if it is left to them in a will. You may also want to have a say in how the money is used. Making sure the inheritance is spent on your grandchild’s education and specifying that no money can be transferred to your grandchild until he or she reaches aged 21 are both common requirements.
Tools like a trust allow you to take additional control. You can create a trust document that puts a responsible person in charge of managing your grandchild’s inheritance and that establishes conditions or limitations on the transfer of trust assets.
If you are leaving money to grandchildren and you have a larger estate, you also need to determine if estate taxes will be an issue. If your estate owes taxes, this could significantly reduce the amount of money that your grandchildren receive in their inheritance. There are ways to reduce or avoid estate tax, but you need to talk with an experienced attorney early in the estate planning process to determine the best way to facilitate the tax-free transfer of wealth.
You cannot just use a living trust and assume that because the assets in the trust transfer outside of probate, estate tax won’t be assessed. Taxes can be due on both money transferred through a will as well as money transferred by the trust administration process.
Getting Help from Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning lawyers will work closely with you to make an appropriate estate plan for your family and life situation. Whether you are a grandparent or a newlywed, if you want to protect your loved ones and secure your autonomy in case of a serious medical event, your estate planning attorney can help you.