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Tips for avoiding estate tax and protecting assets

| Feb 17, 2020 | Estate Planning |

There are a number of ways people in Louisiana can structure their estate to protect assets from a divorce. Parents may want to place assets intended for their children in a revocable trust with a protector. The child can be named as the trustee, but the protector takes over if there is a lawsuit or other issues that could cause the assets to be seized.

This type of trust can also protect a child’s inheritance from a stepparent in case one parent dies and the other remarries. However, there are other types of trust that can also protect assets to varying degrees. The irrevocable asset protection trust puts the control of assets in the hands of an outside trustee and may also include a protector. Couples who want more control over their assets may opt for a spousal lifetime access trust which offers fewer protections but does take the assets out of the estate so they are not subject to estate or gift taxes. While the estate tax exemption is currently around $11 million, it is scheduled to drop in 2026 and could be changed again at a later date.

A dynasty trust can ensure that assets are protected from these taxes for generations. With these types of trusts, families do not technically own the assets but have rights to them.

There are several other types of documents that are also important in an estate plan. For example, people may want to create an advance medical directive and a financial power of attorney that appoint people to make certain decisions if the principal becomes incapacitated. Some people may prefer to discuss estate planning with family members. Along with having an attorney prepare the documents, this can reduce the likelihood of family conflict caused by misunderstanding the plan.