How to Smooth the Path to Your Children’s Inheritance
By Zachary Mushkatel on June 20, 2013
Most Arizonans who make an estate plan have two basic goals:
1) To leave instructions that express how they want their estates to be distributed
2) To make the process as simple as possible for their children or other loved ones.
A Peoria, Arizona estate planning lawyer can help you create an estate plan that meets these needs for you. If you are at the early stages of considering estate planning, these tips for making may simplify the process of your wishes being honored.
- Communicate. According to one survey by Fidelity Investments, adult children underestimate the value of their parents’ estates by about $100,000 on average. Communicate early and often so your children know what assets you have, the estate’s value, and how to manage the estate when you pass away or if you become unable to manage them on your own.
- Distribute equally when possible. Leaving an equal inheritance to each child can reduce the risk of a lengthy court battle tying up inheritance assets. If you plan to leave unequal amounts to each child, however, explaining clearly why you have made this decision can also help reduce animosity. An attorney can help you draft this explanation in clear language a court can understand.
- Distribute assets yourself. Distributing some assets before you die may provide a few benefits. First, it ensures that the person whom you wish to receive the assets actually gets them. Second, it may help avoid certain estate taxes by taking advantage of the gift exception or other tax exceptions. Also, many people enjoy seeing their beneficiaries enjoy their inheritances.
- Use a trust to maintain control. If you are concerned about how children will use funds, consider putting them in a trust. A trust can impose rules and preconditions for asset use, such as an age limit for distribution or distribution only when the beneficiary completes a certain goal, like finishing college. Your attorney can help you create a trust that clearly establishes your intentions.
To learn more about your options in estate planning, call Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, at (623) 889-0691.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.