Let’s Talk About Your Kids:
The Advantage of Estate Planning with Young Beneficiaries
Let’s talk about your beneficiaries, your kids and grand kids.
In the second video in this series, we learned that estate planning that leaves retirement assets directly to children and grandchildren offers extraordinary tax advantages to your family. The basic premise being that a young beneficiary has a long life-expectancy, and sustaining money in the tax deferred environment for an extended period allows for the most growth. At least this is how things work under the current law.
I think we can agree that, in drafting estate planning documents, the primary concern for most couples is to provide for the surviving spouse. As we have discussed, transferring assets to a spouse is a fairly straightforward process and does have some tax advantages. Then, they hope that when they are both gone, there will be something left for their kids, and then for their grandchildren. But, I am suggesting that, depending on family circumstances, it might be smart to leave money to kids or grandkids at the first death.
Let’s say that after you die, your spouse is in good health and has more money than he or she will ever need. Under those circumstances, you have met our first criteria for an estate plan: providing for the surviving spouse. In this case, leaving at least a portion of your IRA to your children is perhaps a viable and tax-savvy option. With their longer life expectancy, they will have lower required minimum distributions which means more of your money will continue to grow tax-deferred. Flexible estate planning at its finest! It’s a winning scenario, especially if you look at the family as a whole with the idea of establishing a legacy.
If we take it one step further with your beneficiaries.
It’s even better, tax-wise, to name your grandchildren. Imagine the advantages of minimizing tax-free distributions from an inherited Roth account over a long lifetime! If you scroll up to video two in the series, you can watch me run the numbers for just that scenario. It’s a game-changing strategy.
We cannot over-stress, however, that naming minor children or grandchildren as beneficiaries will also require some additional estate planning to protect them from themselves—no Ferrari at 21 for you my grandson—and, potentially, creditors. We recommend that all minors’ shares are held in well-drafted trusts. Additionally, it is critical that the trust meets five specific conditions to qualify as a designated beneficiary of an IRA or a Roth IRA (you can find reference to the five conditions in my book, Retire Secure! on Page 307, and you can download a copy of the book at www.paytaxeslater.com/books. Under current law, a well-drafted trust will allow them to stretch an inherited IRA or Roth IRA over their lifetime. If the trust doesn’t meet all five of the conditions, then the trust will not qualify as a beneficiary and income taxes will be accelerated. Without attention to the details, it could go from an estate planning dream to a nightmare.
So, let’s pull it all together.
Even if you have specific bequests that you want to see honored—a gift to a charity or a cause or a family friend—I suspect that it is still safe to say that your primary beneficiaries will be your surviving spouse, your children, and your grandchildren. That being the case, stay tuned to learn why Lange’s Cascading Beneficiary Plan is probably the best estate planning solution for you.
Until next time!
P.S. If you want to do a little advanced study on this topic before the next post and video, go to http://paytaxeslater.com/estate-planning/.