Estate planning can be a useful tool to avoid probate and potentially reduce estate taxes, helping you protect your beneficiaries. While U.S. Bank does not offer tax and legal advice, we do offer some guidance on how to take the first steps.
More than half of American adults do not have a will, let alone more sophisticated estate planning tools such as trusts, according to a 2011 survey conducted by Harris Interactive for online legal service Rocket Lawyer.
“Time passes, kids grow and families change. If you do estate planning in your 50s and don’t revisit it until your 80s, you miss 30 years of opportunities to shift your wealth.”
—David Shannon, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels
Failure to do estate planning can be a mistake, especially for high net worth individuals, says Sally Mullen, Chief Fiduciary Officer for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “Estate planning is not merely one piece of a financial plan,” she says. “It’s a process that involves thinking about the legacy that you’d like to leave to the next generation and how to help ensure your family and loved ones are cared for.”
A strong estate plan can help to ensure your assets are distributed the way you want after your death. It may also protect your estate and beneficiaries’ estates from significant taxes that could cut their value in half, says Mike Schwartz, Partner with the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Cincinnati, OH. Estate planning can be a complicated process, especially if you have family situations that include multiple marriages and children, or loved ones who require medical care or trustee oversight, he says. It’s worth the effort, knowing you are not leaving your legacy to chance.