4 Things to Consider about Wealth Transfer
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Planning for a wealth transfer as early as possible will provide you with the time and space to make sure you have the right structures in place that carry out your wishes as accurately as possible. Depending on your portfolio, your wealth transfer could span tax and estate planning, as well as retirement, and inheritance. From gifting money to children to transferring ownership of a home, there’s a lot to consider, so it’s important to understand some parameters for the best way to pass on an inheritance.
You worked hard your whole life to build and maintain your wealth, so thinking about and planning the transfer of these assets can seem daunting. Making sure your money is going where it will best carry out your wishes is important. You want your accumulated wealth to make a difference in the life of family, potentially friends, and even your community -- proper communication and planning can ensure these wishes are carried out when the time comes to distribute your wealth.
Consider these steps when you’re ready to start planning to pass on an inheritance or set up an estate transfer.
Establish your goals. Some people start with the goal that all of their wealth is going to be transferred to their heirs. Others want to divide equally amongst various family members, and for others charitable, community giving is at the heart of their wealth planning. Decide what’s important for you and your legacy as you begin to delineate assets. Moving forward in the wealth transfer process without clearly identifying the goals you have for your accumulated assets can only lead to muddied waters for all involved.
Share and explain your financial wishes to loved ones. According to one study, 67 percent of individuals who were involved in family conversations about wealth felt like they had a greater understanding of what it entails as a result. Talking with family members about plans to protect and transfer assets can help avoid unwelcome surprises after you or your spouse dies. Plus, once you take the opportunity to explain why you’ve made the choice to delineate money and assets to various parties, they’ll be better able to help carry out the wishes you have for your hard-earned assets. Remember the ‘money talk’ isn’t all about numbers -- use this conversation to outline what’s important to you, things like; education, health of your loved ones, community betterment -- helping your loved ones understand what type of legacy you want to leave behind can help them allocate your wealth in a way that would make you proud.
Is giving wealth during your lifetime vs. at death right for you? There are so many trains of thought when it comes to giving access to money and assets when you’re alive vs. when you’ve died. But before you try to decide which option is best for you, ensure that your financial needs are taken care of first. Identify the type of lifestyle you’d like to lead in retirement and make sure your accounts are set up to allow you to live your ideal life. Then, take a look at your family’s personal financial situation and circumstance -- this is often what helps decide if passing on wealth during your lifetime vs. at death is right for you. Be sure to consider any probate implications holding on to your assets will mean for you and your loved ones.
Don’t set it and forget it. Life is constantly changing. Kids. Jobs. Marriages. Deaths. Inheritances. Divorces. Graduations. Pandemics. Once you’ve established your wealth transfer objectives, plan on revisiting your documents on an ongoing basis to ensure that any life events or major life changes don’t threaten the goals you have in mind for how your wealth is to be distributed.