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4 ways to strategically retain resources within the family

They say that "you can't take it with you," but the next best alternative may be to keep your assets and resources within the family.

One certified financial planner and the vice president of his Virginia investment group explains that the "bigger issue in estate planning for the majority of people is managing the step-up in basis on inherited assets and income taxes."

The step-up in basis deals with the way significant assets like vacation homes and investment properties are valuated and taxed upon death. It also delves into the way taxes against 401(k)s and traditional IRAs are levied when they are inherited by a person who is not a spouse.

Anyone with a complex estate owes it to their heirs to work closely with the estate attorney and accountant to develop the best financial strategies for retaining their familial wealth. Below are four ways to keep estate property within a family.

-- Make your will. It seems almost too simple to mention, but an astonishingly high number of adults have no wills. One attorney survey from 2014 indicated that of 2,048 respondents, 64 percent of American adults have no will. Another 17 percent didn't believe that they needed one.

-- Know your beneficiaries. Wills do not deal with all assets. Life insurance policies and retirement funds permit the owners during their lifetimes to name the beneficiaries of the assets.

Sometimes, clients forget to remove a former spouse's name as beneficiary, the beneficiary has predeceased them or there is none listed at all. Scenarios like that send accounts straight to probate. There, the court decides who receives these assets.

-- Give your heirs their money during your lifetime. Not only will you get to enjoy seeing how you make their lives easier, the Internal Revenue Service permits individual gifts of as much as $14,000 annually per person, tax-free to the recipient. Gifts of cash can also lower the taxable value of your estate.

-- Learn the value of a trust. Those with large estates or heirs who may not behave responsibly when turned loose with large sums of money can explore the benefits of trusts with their estate attorney.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "5 Estate Planning Strategies to Keep Your Money in the Family," Maryalene LaPonsie, accessed April 21, 2017

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