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It Pays to Plan Ahead
Estate Planning is for everyone - not only for those approaching retirement age, although that is the time that most begin thinking about it. Whether you believe it or not, you do have an estate. Everything that you own; a home, vehicle, investments, savings, even furniture is included in your estate.
To ensure that your wishes are carried out after you’ve passed on, you need to provide instructions on whom you want to have what and when you want them to receive it. A will is a document that will take the burden off those you leave behind. Changes can always be made to this will, and of course, you’ll also want to take into account for legal fees, taxes and court costs.
Legacy Planning takes this a step further and crafts the way in which you want others to remember you after you’ve passed. This may include charitable contributions, trusts, family histories, etc. in addition to your will.
No one wants to think about their own mortality, but it is important to be prepared. Start early, and leave your loved ones with the peace of mind of knowing that they are carrying out your wishes. Estate Planning is one of the most thoughtful gifts one can provide for their friends and family.
Estate Tax Benefits
A SMART529 account in the name of your child or grandchild is one way in which you can ensure that when the time comes for higher education they have a great financial foundation on which to base those decisions.
Contributions made to a SMART529 account during a taxable year will not be subject to federal gift tax if the contributions, together with any other gifts made to the Designated Beneficiary in that year, do not exceed $15,000 ($30,000 if gift-splitting) are treated as completed gifts of a present interest for federal gift tax purposes.
If a third party is the designated beneficiary on your SMART529 account, the value of the account will not be included in the donor’s estate for estate tax purposes. The only exception would occur if you are spreading a gift out over five years for gift tax purposes, in which case the gifts allocable to periods after your death are included in your estate.