When you are serious about making informed plans for the future you have to be aware of all of the options that are available to you and how to use them effectively. Depending on the resources that you have and what your legacy intentions are some of the instruments that would be useful are rather complex. So, unless you are in the field of financial planning or elder law you probably are not going to have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges that exist and the appropriate responses that are typically utilized by estate planning professionals.
This is why it is important to develop a good working relationship with a legacy planning attorney you can trust. He or she will gain an understanding of your wishes, evaluate your assets, and make the proper recommendations so that your legacy goals will eventually come to fruition.
One of the tools used that can provide tax savings as well as asset protection is the charitable remainder unitrust, which in estate planning circles is often shortened to the acronym CRUT. You create and fund the trust and name both a charitable and non-charitable beneficiary. The non-charitable beneficiary must receive annuity payments equal to between 5% and 50% of the fair market value of the trust annually, so most people are going to act as their own beneficiary. You could serve as the trustee as well.
At the end of the trust term, which can be upon your death if you choose to set up the trust in this manner, the charitable beneficiary assumes the remainder that is left in the trust. This remainder must equal at least 10% of the original fair market value of the CRUT.
Assets that are placed in the trust are no longer the personal property of the grantor so they are protected from creditors and claimants. From a tax perspective, the act of funding the trust reduces the value of your estate for estate tax purposes. And there are also capital gains tax advantages if you fund the trust with appreciated securities. In addition, you are entitled to a charitable deduction, the amount of which is determined by the application of IRS rules regarding charitable remainder unitrusts.
If you have an estate that will likely be subject to an estate tax at your death, make an appointment to meet with a legacy planning attorney to discuss a CRUT or other methods of reducing your taxable estate.