Forbes: “One difficult financial task facing a surviving spouse is how to handle the individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other qualified retirement plans. Mistakes often are made with inherited IRAs in general, whether they are inherited by spouses, children or others. Retirement accounts are treated differently than most other assets in the estate. The rules for inherited IRAs aren’t intuitive or simple, so mistakes are made. Surviving spouses have the same options with inherited IRAs as other beneficiaries. But there’s a twist to one of them, and the surviving spouse has an additional option.”
Examiner.com: The type of trust we most commonly discuss is, without a doubt, the revocable living trust. While revocable living trusts are certainly effective in making sure that your estate avoids a lengthy and expensive probate process, they aren’t an effective way to protect your assets or accomplish other goals. The truth is that trusts and other estate planning tools serve all sorts of purposes. Today we are going to discuss a few of the objectives served by different types of estate planning vehicles. Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
If you have a life insurance policy and die, the proceeds will be part of your estate. In some circumstances, this can result in an unnecessary tax liability. You can remove proceeds of life insurance from your estate by placing your policies into an irrevocable life insurance trust (an “ILIT”).
In many cases, ILITs are used both to own life insurance policies and to be the beneficiary of the policies. This gives you the option to make sure that insurance proceeds are held in trust and protected against irresponsible spending, creditors, or ex-spouses. It also means that you can designate proceeds to benefit your spouse, children, grandchildren, or anyone else you want to make sure is cared for.
Continue reading about other estate planning tools.
Wall St. Journal: “Life insurance is one of those financial products that can give people the heebie-jeebies. It can sound confusing and complicated, and it involves thinking about a very scary proposition: death. But life insurance really isn't as frightening or complex as it seems. It's actually a fantastically useful and flexible estate-planning tool that can provide income-tax-free security for your loved ones. It can also provide liquidity to pay estate taxes, especially if your estate largely consists of assets such as real estate or a closely held business that you may be reluctant to sell to raise cash. (If the policy is owned by an irrevocable trust, the insurance payout can avoid estate taxes too.) Here's a rundown of some of the basics of life insurance:”
Investopedia: Trusts are commonly used by attorneys and financial advisors during the estate planning process. They aid in the distribution of assets, ensuring that everything goes to the correct people and entities. They can also minimize estate taxes. Essentially, they allow you to remove assets from your personal estate so that more wealth can be passed to your beneficiaries. You can even place a life insurance policy within a trust.