This is an important question to ask, because the answer could tell you whether you need to worry about estate taxes, beneficiary issues or probate concerns.
A will allows you to distribute your worldly goods, select a guardian for minor children and name an executor to carry out your wishes.
That last will and testament you have tucked away? It may not be the last word on what happens to your stuff after you are gone. Instead, that legal document’s directives for doling out your wealth may be overruled by other paperwork and relevant laws.
Over the years I get all kinds of questions from people. And boy, have I heard some doozies. But one common one I get is called the ‘lazy (or poor) man’s (or woman’s’) estate planning.’ This type of estate planning has some very negative tax consequences.
Beneficiaries, in general, are people or entities that the holder of an account designates to receive the assets in the account, typically, in the event of the account holder’s death.
One of the biggest wealth transfers our nation has ever seen is about to take place. Over the next 25 years, as much as $68 trillion of wealth will be passed to succeeding generations.