It's Thanksgiving season, and that means turkey, mashed potatoes and all the fixings. But I’ll leave the recipes to the chefs out there, because it’s the end of the year and it’s, well, giving season. Below are some ways to give thankfully, and be more thankful you gave.
Give the Gift of Security
Estate planning is all about giving your family peace of mind. People don’t like to think about what happens when they are gone, but one thing is certain. It will be a stressful time for your family.
That stress is only compounded if you don’t have a will and other legal documents in order. Failing to plan out your estate giving means your family will be locked in probate, unable to access the assets you intended for them for months, or even years.
Worse, you can’t guarantee your funds will go to the people you intended. Many states do not recognize a step child as a rightful heir, for example.
Take this time to review your documentation, and look over your beneficiaries, especially if you have had a major life event.
As it is the end of the year, this is a good time to look at your tax situation and give accordingly.
If you are charitably minded, and want to reduce your tax bill, consider whether it makes sense to give now or hold off until next year. While the purpose of being generous isn’t to reduce your payments to Uncle Sam, it’s certainly a nice perk.
In addition to the tax benefits, of course, there is the reward of seeing your gift put to good use in your lifetime. Trusts, scholarship funds or donor advised funds are great ways to leave your giving legacy now and watch causes you support thrive.
Do your research. Some charities are better than others. Look to see if your company has an employer match, or if a company or donor is matching gifts.
Similarly, consider the tax implications when reviewing your beneficiaries. Leaving money for your children can have varying tax implications for them, depending on their own income.
Work With Your Advisor
Your advisor is available to work through your investments for retirements, of course, but they can also be a great resource as you look into giving and estate planning. They can help you navigate your giving plan by asking you questions in light of your financial goals. If you aren’t working with someone already, find a trusted professional with a breadth of experience, so you can give thankfully, and with confidence.
This article was originally published in the November 2019 issue of Living on the Lawn.
Robert Carson is Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor at Wealth Enhancement Group. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.
Robert joined Wealth Enhancement Group during the 2019 partnership with Planning Solutions Group, where he was a Managing Partner for the firm. He specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning strategies, with an emphasis on estate preservation, business succession planning and asset management.