Estate Planning Trends: From Multi-Generation Planning to Digital Assets

Estate planning trends are beginning to change slightly as the estate tax rate starts to become permanent and families begin managing more assets digitally. It could forever change the way people plan their estates for their children and grandchildren if certain trends keep moving forward. The good news is that there may be less confusion and complication thanks to an emphasis on making things simpler.

Fewer Trusts

With the tax benefits of trusts not gaining anybody anything, some people may be moving out of that arena and into simpler estate planning. That may mean simpler investments to pass onto their children that don't get mired in legal complication or expensive taxes. Tax exemptions for those with estates below $5 million also seem to be on a road to being permanent, which could give more incentive to keep things simple. Part of that comes in the now permanent allowance of a spouse to take his or hers’ deceased spouse's unused exemption amount through the estate tax portability election option.

Dealing with the New Territory of Digital Assets

New estate planning rules have to be written in dealing with those who have digital assets and how those get passed on to survivors. Considering some people make livings working in the digital world, there's going to be creative online assets mentioned in wills and trusts. These need to show who inherits those assets and how they'll be managed.

And it doesn't stop with just creative properties. Financial assets are also widely used online that need thorough planning in how they'll be accessed through specific websites. In some cases, that involves residuals for writing that are paid monthly by companies into PayPal.

Long-Term Investments

Otherwise known as dynasty trusts, wealthier families are taking advantage of placing assets into trusts that can be passed on for multi-generations. It's all part of the trend toward thinking further ahead in estate planning rather than going one generation at a time. As well, a dynasty trust allows the person setting it up to take distributions from the trust while still alive without disturbing the assets that will still pass on to heirs.

With these trends, you're going to need to work with an astute estate planning lawyer. If you live in Southern California, consider the Law Offices of James C. Shields for all your estate planning needs. We'll focus on the new trends and help you plan everything so it's easy to understand, no matter what your estate worth happens to be.

Contact our Torrance estate planning firm so we can start giving you peace of mind about how your children and grandchildren will benefit from what you leave behind.

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