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Estate planning as it relates to people living longer

Typically, men and women live anywhere from 10 to 15 years longer on average now than they did in 1950. A longer life span means that elder aged people have to maintain a means of financial support, perhaps for more years than they'd expected. Savings, estate planning and other financial endeavors are all affected by aging populations in California and throughout the United States.

Minimizing capital gains and making sure assets are protected well into retirement years are common priorities for older folks today. Many estate plans have provisions for repeatable gifts, which can be given once a year without taxation. This has often been used as a way to reduce estate taxes in the past.

Currently, however, a federal tax exemption increase has basically rendered such measures unnecessary since less families are subject to federal estate taxation. In fact, some say that gift provisions are not a good idea as it may place an elder person at risk if a gift recipient takes undue advantage of the situation. What may be more beneficial to some is a retirement trust.

Because inheritors stand to receive their inheritance at much later ages due to the increased life spans of estate owners, a retirement trust may help protect assets from creditors and lawsuits. Children may also disclaim the part of a retirement trust they are slated to inherit and transfer it to their own children. Depending on the percentage rate of return, such a trust can grow substantially by the time a benefactor's grand-children inherit it. Considering these types of estate planning topics is crucial to those seeking protection of assets well into their Golden Years and may be best addressed through guidance from an experienced California attorney.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Estate Planning for an Aging Population", John M. Goralka, July 5, 2016

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