If you have dependents, then it is incredibly important that you have a will in place. Furthermore, this will should accurately reflect your wishes so that they can be executed in the unfortunate event that you do die. Even if you don't have dependents, then you should still consider writing a will and should at least begin to think about how you wish to do so. Here are some tips that you can use to make sure that your wishes will be honored.
Minimize Taxes with Gifts
One of the biggest problems that confronts the families of the deceased is that the government takes a large cut of the estate before it is given to the beneficiaries. Thankfully, there are some legal mechanisms that you can use to minimize this cut.
Firstly, you should consider giving gifts to your family and friends before you die. Legally, you can give a certain amount of money to a person in a given year ($14,000) and it will not be taxable. If you have a spouse, then you can effectively double the gifting amount, since you can each give $14,000. Gifting this money instead of allowing it to be allocated in the will means that your estate will pay much less in taxes during probate.
Donate Taxable Assets to Charity
Secondly, you can think about setting aside specific assets in your will to be donated to charity. If you simply specify that you want a portion of your estate to go to charity, then certain nontaxable assets might be donated. You don't want this to happen, since that will mean that taxable assets go to your family. This will result in your beneficiaries getting less money than they might have otherwise. Ultimately, you should try to give your nontaxable assets to your beneficiaries and your taxable assets to charity, if at all possible.
Pick an Executor That You Trust
When you do die, your appointed executor will be called upon to make sure that your will is carried out. Therefore, you want to make sure that your executor is reliable and able to do the job. In many cases, this may mean picking a close friend or family member that can impartially carry out their duties. However, probate can get pretty complicated if you have an extensive estate, so you might want to consider an executor with legal expertise. You don't need to pick an executor, since the court will appoint one to oversee your case, but picking your own can give you a great deal of peace of mind.
For assistance, talk to a professional like Skeen Law Offices.