E282 When Receiving an Inheritance Changes Your Solo Ager Estate Plan
How does receiving an inheritance change your own Solo Ager estate plan? A family inheritance will increase the size and complexity of your estate, so let’s discuss what that means for Solo Agers.
Increases the size of your estate
How does this inheritance result in a more complex probate for you later on?
The more you have, the higher the risk of conflict. This is because there is more at stake. If your niece and nephew were going to each receive $20,000; that’s a nice chunk of change, but not worth hiring lawyers for. But if they are now going to receive six figures each, it gets more complicated. Also imagine if you plan to leave the niece $100,000 and the nephew $300,000; the niece could feel she’d have the funds to hire an attorney and make it worth the fight.
Then there’s taxes, and we’re not just talking about estate tax. When you have more assets, you’re more likely to have capital gains issues. Or, even ordinary income tax clearance issues on your final 1040. The higher your net worth, the more complicated or diverse are your assets. If you inherited a bunch of stock and bought/sold them to organize your estate, it could cause issues getting the tax clearance on your 1040 if you die shortly after.
It also depends what you are inheriting. If your current estate is made up of bank, brokerage, and real estate, then it’s probably pretty straightforward. But what if you inherit commercial real estate, a share of a small business, art, Bitcoin, etc.? Those are new assets that can add twists to your plans. Maybe the executor you appointed isn’t equipped to deal with these types of assets.
This leads to the next question: Do you now need a professional executor?
As Solo Ager, you may have chosen a friend or distantly related family member as executor. Now that your estate is more complex than you originally planned, the more burdensome and difficult it is to administer the estate. You’re now asking more from the executor than you did initially, and maybe it’s time to consider hiring a professional executor.
Reduce amounts to your heirs
Receiving an inheritance could compel you to reduce the amount you give to your heirs. It seems counterintuitive; if you inherited more, why would you give less? For example, our client recently inherited a large amount of money from his father, who passed away. His initial estate plan was to give a good chunk to his niece and nephew (25% of his estate to each and 50% to charity).
Since he received dad’s inheritance, his estate is significantly larger. In our client’s opinion, 25% of his now-large estate is a bit too generous for each of his heirs. On top of all this, the niece and nephew have already inherited from our client’s deceased father, too!
In this situation, our client felt it was appropriate to reduce the heirs’ shares and bequeath those funds to others.
Leave more to charity
Along the same lines, you may decide to leave more to charity. If your estate is bigger, you have more options to give to good causes. You can give (more) to charity, since you have enough to leave good amounts to friends and family and still have funds left over.
Now that you have more to leave to charity, there are different techniques and strategies available to you. For small estates, it’s not worth the legal and accounting fees to set up certain plans. But now, the amount you’re leaving to charity is large enough to cost-justify a trust or other planning tool that better suits your legacy and goals.
We have Solo Agers who are grateful to have inherited from older family members, and they have told us how it’s impacted their own estate plans. We wanted to share with you so that you can be prepared, too.
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