Are the gifts you want to leave heirs really gifts?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Estate Planning

Leaving money or property to loved ones in your will can certainly be an act of love and generosity. However, not all of these “gifts” are received that way. In some cases, you could be creating expensive problems for your loved ones when leaving them certain assets.

Complicated, costly gifts

Some of your assets may be less valuable or desirable than you realize. When you pass them to someone else in your estate plan, they could see it as a headache rather than a gift. Such could be the case when it comes to assets such as:

  • Timeshares, which could strap them with unwanted costs
  • Collectibles, which they could lose or not have the means to store and maintain properly
  • Firearms, which they may not be legally able to possess
  • Real estate property, which could trigger infighting among loved ones and maintenance expenses
  • Personal property, which may have no value and be difficult to collect or dispose of

If you have these assets, taking a realistic look at the value and benefit of passing them on can be crucial. If you are unsure whether they will be too expensive to maintain or complicated to transfer, you might consider alternative approaches or strategies. 

Planning strategies to consider

You can still address these assets and include them in your estate plan, but you may want to examine the options to make the inheritance process more manageable and less costly. 

For instance, in terms of ongoing costs to maintain property, you could also set aside money earmarked for those expenses. 

You could also direct administrators to sell a property and distribute the cash to beneficiaries instead or leave your property to a charity equipped to handle the gift. Putting property in a trust for trustees to manage could be another option.

Further, you could choose to give your gifts while you are alive rather than have them go through probate.

Maximizing value, easing transfers

Whatever you decide to do, know that having an estate plan in place to express your wishes and talking to your loved ones about your decisions can be enormously valuable in terms of maximizing the value of your gifts and making transfers easier for beneficiaries. 

These strategies can help you feel confident that your loved ones want and are able to accept the gifts you leave behind.

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