Teaching your children about money, budgeting, and saving has always been important, but in these days of stubborn economic recession, it may be more important than ever. Being financially savvy does not come naturally to most people. Additionally, with rising prices for healthcare, college education, and housing, it is increasingly difficult to manage paying for the things we need, let alone the things we want. However, there are several strategies you can use now to help instill positive financial habits, while also protecting your own finances.
Lead By Example
First, by getting your own financial house in order, you can demonstrate good habits. This includes planning for retirement through savings and retirement plans, and planning for illness or incapacity through your estate plan. By ensuring that you have completed your own estate plan, it will be easier for you to urge your children to prepare for their own futures. Particularly if you have adult children who have their own families, it’s important to encourage them to plan for their children in the event of death or a serious accident. Similarly, if your parents have not yet completed an estate plan, it will be easier to encourage them to do so if you have already!
Lend a Helping Hand
Often when completing a comprehensive financial and estate plan, seeking out tax benefits is a top priority. A number of tax-favored strategies exist to help you and your estate save on taxes, while helping your children get a head start. IRC 529 plans can help you save for your children’s college educations. Life insurance is exempt from income tax to the beneficiaries. Additionally, it may be used to provide liquidity to your estate or trust administration. Depending on your situation, these strategies may provide win-win scenarios for your heirs.
Look After Yourself
One mistake people often make is putting too much of their estate in strategies like IRC 529 plans and life insurance. However, one of the best ways to ensure that there will be assets left over for your heirs to inherit is to plan for your own illness. By preparing to receive Medi-Cal through a QMap Trust or VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability benefits through a QVap Trust, it may be possible to have a substantial portion of your medical bills provided for while protecting your home from liquidation.
Let Your Trust Continue
By distributing assets outright to your heirs, you allow them to spend as much of it as they want as quickly as they want. However, by staging distributions at certain ages or by creating a grandchildren’s trust, it is possible to provide for your family long into the future. It is possible to prevent your children and grandchildren from treating their inheritance like lottery winnings. Instead, you have the ability to limit distributions to certain types of expenses (e.g. education). However, long-term trust administration carries certain ongoing expenses with it, such as income tax returns. Additionally, although a long-term trust has the benefit of preventing waste of your life’s earnings, it may be more difficult for your heirs to access the assets if they are needed.
Giving your estate plan thoughtful consideration with a competent attorney can help you teach your children and grandchildren healthy financial habits, even when you are no longer able to impart such knowledge directly. Creating the plan in the first place will offer you peace of mind and flexibility in the event of an accident or long-term illness.
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