Transitioning to retirement can be challenging for most. After working for decades, there’s no place to be – no meetings to attend.
We’re confident you’ll fill your schedule, and like most retirees, you may be busier than ever – doing the things you want to do. But what about your assets? Without a steady paycheck, you may be wondering how to best preserve your assets in retirement.
Here are five estate planning steps to protect your assets in retirement so you provide financial security for your loved ones and minimize probate and estate taxes.
1. Create a last will and testament.
A foundational estate planning task is creating a last will and testament if you haven’t already done so. A will is a legal document that specifies how you want your assets distributed after your death as well as who will administer your estate.
Having a will allows you to streamline any legal processes after your death for your loved ones while protecting any inheritance for your estate’s heirs. Through a will, you can also specify your wishes for your funeral and burial costs, helping to avoid any family arguments after you’re gone.
2. Create a trust.
Depending on your situation, you may also want to create a trust as part of your estate plan. A trust is a fiduciary, legal arrangement, allowing a third party (or trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary.
Like with a will, you can arrange a trust in a variety of ways, specifying how you want your assets to pass to your family members, close friends, or your chosen charities.
Additionally, trusts typically avoid probate (which is called “succession” in Louisiana), meaning your beneficiaries will have access to these assets sooner rather than later. For irrevocable trusts, they are not part of your taxable estate, helping you to reduce potential taxes.
To learn more about how to control your wealth and protect your legacy, contact a qualified Louisiana estate planning attorney today.
3. Understand the Tax Implications of Gifts.
Another way to pass assets to your loved ones or a charity is through gifts.
If your monetary gifts are under $16,000 (for 2022) or $17,000 (for 2023) per recipient, you can avoid federal tax. The amount of monetary gifts you make during your lifetime is not available to pass assets at your death under the Estate and Gift Tax Applicable Exclusion (which is $12.06 million per individual in 2022 and $12.92 million per individual in 2023).
This means – at death – a married couple can pass up to $25.84 million in 2023 without paying any federal gift or estate tax.
Louisiana does not have an inheritance or gift tax.
4. Explore Long-Term Care Planning
Planning for long-term care planning is another way to protect your assets later in life. For example, long-term care planning allows you to plan for your elder care (and its expense) while you can.
One way to protect your assets is with long-term care insurance, enabling you to rely on insurance coverage for health care rather than your hard-earned money. Planning for long-term care also removes stress from your family members when they may need to make decisions for your care when you can no longer do so.
5. Understand Joint Ownership.
Finally, joint ownership may be another option for you and your family. For example, by jointly titling assets, you avoid the time-consuming process of probate as well as preventing will contests after you’re gone.
However, joint ownership is not the best option for everyone. To understand if any of your assets need to be jointly titled, contact an experienced Louisiana elder law attorney today.
In addition to preserving your wealth and protecting your estate, there are steps you can take to ensure that you are protected as well. For example, planning for powers of attorney, and Medicaid, disability benefits can ensure that if the unexpected happens, you and your family are taken care of.
Why Retain Losavio & DeJean, LLC?
At Losavio & DeJean, LLC, we provide clients with specialized, experienced, compassionate legal services, and we have deep knowledge and experience in elder law. Our Baton Rouge estate planning lawyers can also travel to you if need be.
Contact us today to learn more.