An estate plan allows people to articulate their final wishes. They can make beneficiary designations, clarify their intent and leave words of comfort for their surviving family members.
Some people may wish to begin allocating gifts while still living. A benefit of this decision, according to MSN, is more control over the allocation and use of assets. Familiarity with some common and effective strategies may help people to devise a plan that works with their lifestyle and meets their personal expectations.
Time and possessions
When people think of gifting their wealth to beneficiaries, they rarely think of giving their time. In fact, very few people talk with their beneficiaries about their intent and the purpose behind their decisions. Taking time to discuss an estate plan and answer questions about its function and strategy can provide family members with continued support and reassurance even after the testator’s death.
People may also consider gifting personal possessions or items with sentimental value. This may include jewelry, artwork, collections, photographs and family heirlooms. It can be a really special experience for beneficiaries to receive a sentimental gift from the gift-giver themselves prior to death.
Donations and contributions
Another strategy is for people to donate money, time or resources to charities. For example, they may allocate some of their assets toward anti-violence coalitions, educational scholarships, religious organizations or medical research facilities.
Some people wish to help pay for educational opportunities for their beneficiaries. They could open a 529 savings account to generate money to go toward educational expenses. According to MSN, monetary contributions to a 529 plan are exempt from taxes so long as beneficiaries use the money for their education. Testators can encourage their beneficiaries to contribute to the plan as well. This can turn a gift-giving experience into a unique and memorable teaching opportunity.