Guest article from ucpaa.org
Many people manage their finances under a very misguided assumption about what happens when the time comes to pass on their assets. These people think it’s a process that just takes care of itself. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Without proper estate planning, you could end up losing a substantial portion of your assets. That’s why it’s important to use qualified accounting and tax services to plan for what happens to your assets after your death.
The Complexities Involved in Handling Estate Tax
The first thing you need to know about estate planning is how complicated it can be. This is especially true when it comes to managing the estate tax. Any plan you come up with must be designed to address both the unique needs of your family and the details of your financial situation.
Different types of assets have to be managed in distinct ways. The methods used also depend on how the assets were first acquired and how long you’ve owned them. Therefore, your tax plan must consider a wide variety of factors, and this is where qualified accounting and tax services can come in and help a great deal.
An experienced tax accountant can help you formulate, implement, and monitor an effective estate tax plan. Just as importantly, a tax accountant can also help modify your plan as circumstances change and the need arises. In short, high-quality accounting and tax services are two things no estate plan can do without.
Finding the Right Accounting and Tax Services
This probably goes without saying, but some firms are better than others when it comes to estate planning. And while every family’s situation is different, it’s usually best to locate an experienced Certified Public Accountant to take care of this challenging task. But the type of experience the CPA has is also very importan
That’s why you’ll need a CPA who’s very familiar with the regulations that govern estate tax planning. With this kind of professional at your disposal, you’re certain to receive guidance in minimizing your estate taxes and reducing the burden upon you and your family. Or to put it more simply: a CPA who specializes in estate planning will make sure your family keeps as many of your assets as possible after you pass away.
How an Experienced CPA Helps During Difficult Times
Here are four areas where qualified accounting and tax service professionals can help manage your assets, both before and after your death:
There are definite limits on the amount you can give away each year before triggering the Gift Tax, but gift-giving is still an effective way to distribute your assets. In addition to these annual limits, there’s also a limit to the total amount you can give away during your lifetime.
That’s why it’s best to track all the assets you give away. The IRS changes its Gift Tax regulations frequently, and these changes can have a significant impact on the amounts you can give away. So, exercise caution and always consult a qualified CPA to make sure you’re following the most recent rules.
Trusts can be very effective tools for lowering your estate tax. A trust is an arrangement you can use to transfer money from one party to another by using a third party. Trusts can be configured in any number of different ways, but the one that works best for you depends on the state of your financial affairs.
A thorough understanding of your family’s financial situation is the key to establishing just the trust that you need. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a longstanding rapport with a dedicated CPA when you’re engaged in estate planning. Having this kind of expert CPA on hand is the ideal way to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the exact way you want them to be.
3. Protecting Your Loved Ones with Life Insurance
Typically, an accountant isn’t an insurance agent. But an experienced CPA can still give you valuable advice on how you can use life insurance to manage your investments. For instance, they can help you find life insurance that can be used along with other types of estate planning to stabilize your heirs’ financial future.
4. After-Death Services
Qualified accounting and tax services can also help distribute your assets properly in the event of your death. When you establish a relationship with your CPA, it means that you have a professional who’s familiar with your financial circumstances. Planning your asset distribution in advance helps ensure that everything goes smoothly for your loved ones after you’re gone. And an experienced CPA is the best way to make that happen.
Esther is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She obtained specialized designations in the accounting field as a Certified Financial Forensic (CFF), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP). She has worked in the capacity of an interim Chief Financial Officer, interim controller, and financial consultant for several small and medium sized companies for over 10 years. Esther specializes in high potential start-ups from the conceptual stages, such as formulating business plans and helping obtain seed funding, to scaling them in putting infrastructure and systems in place for rapid growth. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a triple major in Economics, East Asian Studies and Sociology within four years and obtained a Master of Public Policy degree, and a Master of Arts in Humanities with distinction from California State University Northridge (CSUN).
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