Whenever you open a financial account, you’re almost always asked to name a beneficiary. Simply stated, a beneficiary of the account is someone who is entitled to the benefits of the account, typically, on the death of the account holder. If you’ve purchased life insurance, for example, you name a beneficiary who receives the benefits of the policy when you pass.
Beneficiaries of a trust typically pay taxes on the distributions they receive from the trust’s income, rather than the trust itself paying the tax. However, these beneficiaries are not subject to taxes on distributions from the trust’s principal.
Estate planning involves making a plan for the transfer of your property upon your death or incapacity. Your estate is all of the property you own, which can include cash, jewelry, cars, houses, clothes, land, retirement, investments and savings accounts. The goals of estate planning are to make sure most of your estate is transferred to your beneficiaries, you pay minimal taxes on the estate and children are assigned guardianship.
Many people have tens of thousands–even hundreds of thousands–of dollars in their IRAs. If you have an asset that large, shouldn’t you devote more effort to planning for its ultimate disposition?
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