This is an article from Zimmer Law Firm (https://zimmerlawfirm.com/) in Cincinnati, Ohio, that we thought others may find helpful.
Estate planning attorneys provide advice with the creation of an estate plan that caters to your specific family needs. They help people of all ages and understand how circumstances change as people get older. While it is important for everyone over the age of 18 to set up some type of estate plan, most people think estate planning becomes more essential as they grow older…and they are correct. The likelihood you will experience an incapacitating injury or even pass away increase with every birthday, so if you don’t already have an estate plan in place, it’s most likely time to create one.
Estate Planning attorneys help seniors create a plan that will address end-of-life issues and protect their legacy. This can be especially important for grandparents who want to provide a gift for their grandchildren or want to pass down the family business to the next generation.
Estate Planning Advice for Grandparents
For many grandparents, decisions need to be made about how an inheritance will be provided for their children and grandchildren. You’ll need to assess how you want to divide up the assets you plan to leave for your loved ones, as well as make sure you use the proper tools to make transferring assets effective and efficient.
If you have made the choice to leave money to grandchildren, you may want to take more control over what happens to an inheritance than you would be able to do if you just dictated in your will how the assets should transfer.
You may want to name who will act as guardian for the funds until your grandchildren are adults and able 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, since 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 specify how the money should be used, such as college tuition.
Tools like a trust can allow you to take this additional control, as 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 tax will result in your estate having to pay a big tax bill. If your estate owes taxes, this could significantly reduce the amount of money that your grandchildren actually receive in their inheritance. There are techniques that you can make use of to reduce or avoid estate tax, but you need to talk with an experienced attorney early on in the estate planning process to determine how best 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 situation. Whether you are a grandparent, just married or had a baby, or are in any stage of life and you want to protect your loved ones and secure your autonomy in case of a serious medical event, they can help you.