The myth of estate planning is that it’s for the wealthy. In Pennsylvania, if your estate is valued over approximately $25,000, it typically goes through probate. Probate can cost your estate 5-12% or more. The end result is a depleted legacy to your loved ones.
A quick way to get an approximate cost of probate to your estate is to take the value of your home, money, automobiles, recreational vehicles, collectables, furnishings, life insurance death benefits, and other estate valuables, and multiply it times 5-12%. (Life Insurance may not be included in the estate value if set up correctly)
Whatever end number you come to is the approximation of how much your loved ones or heirs can lose due to the probate process. Large estates may experience a smaller percentage loss. Average attorney fees for probate can run between 5-7%, which could bring the total amount of loss up to 19% or more. We suggest an attorney who charges by the hour in most cases.
IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and other qualified retirement accounts can also be hit with Federal and State Income taxes at the heir’s tax rate after the account is added to their income.
The probate estate shouldn’t include your 401(k)s, 403(b), IRAs, and other retirement savings. Life insurance and annuities should be probate free, too, if set up correctly. Anything with a beneficiary designation should avoid probate. If you put “To My Estate” on your beneficiary designation, you just turned a probate free asset into part of your probate estate, which could be depleted by fees.
Proper estate planning can reduce or eliminate the high costs, delays, and hassles associated with the probate system and pass more of that extra money to your heirs instead of those who don’t have your best interests in mind. Proper estate planning can also reduce the risk of someone contesting your desires — it happens more than you might think! We can help your estate pass privately, where a normal will ensures your estate will go through probate and be available for the public to review – often online!
Estate planning is fairly simple for most, involving a fact-finding appointment between you and one of our advisors. We find out what your needs are and what you want, show you a snapshot of what you would potentially experience with your current plan, and then explain what our recommendations are and what you could experience with a proper estate plan. With approximately 90-95% of all the new client reviews we do, we’re able to show them a more efficient way to create income during retirement and then potentially pass more of their estate to their loved ones by reducing or eliminating certain taxes and fees.
If you own a business, succession planning is necessary. Exit strategies are needed. If you own highly appreciated assets, there are ways to pass the value of the assets to your heirs with little to no loss. Unfortunately, many business owners pass their business in the least effective way, often resulting in high taxes and fees. In our opinion, passing your business through a will is NOT efficient. In fact, it could be one of the worst ways to pass on your business.
Ultimately, many businesses close shortly after a death because of the lack of liquid funds available or lack of proper planning. When the business owner dies, lines of credit are lost and the money needed to keep the business running can run out. Families, businesses, and farms need to seriously consider finding out what their options are before it is too late.
Call Integrity Retirement Solutions today to see how you and your loved ones may benefit from our decades of experienced services and resources.