Nobody wants to die, but we all want to do what’s best for those we leave behind. Leaving assets outright to a surviving spouse through your will might seem like a great idea. But have you considered the risks of doing so.
First of all, the IRS basic exclusion for determining the unified credit for estate taxes due at death in 2020 is $11,580,000. That amount is protected from federal estate taxes (at least until the current law sunsets in 2026. That’s the good news.
Leaving assets outright to a spouse exposes those assets to creditors and liabilities in the event these issues arise during the surviving spouse’s lifetime. In the unfortunate case that the surviving spouse is subject to a judgement, those assets may be put at risk.
But it gets worse, if your spouse remarries and passes away prior to his or her new spouse, some portion of your spouse’s estate will be distributed to the new spouse, potentially disinheriting your children. Similarly, if there were a divorce of the newlyweds, absent a prenuptial agreement, a significant portion of your wealth may be transferred to your spouse’s new ex. Is this what you intended?
Our planning process goes through potential unforeseen circumstances like this and provides creative solutions to ensure your estate is distributed in a tax efficient and effective manner of your choosing. Let us help you put a plan to keep your assets in your bloodline.