Estate Planning? 5 Ways an Accountant Helps Avoid Future Conflicts
The goal of estate planning is to ensure your wishes are honored after you pass away. However, arguments and discord among the heirs, family members, and even creditors can derail your plans. One way you can help prevent that from happening is to use a public accountant when doing your estate planning. How will they help you avoid problems? Here are a few important ways.
They Assess Tax Effects
Taxes affect what your estate leaves heirs initially as well as the overall value of their inheritances over time. But most average Americans aren't familiar with the tax effects of different inheritance choices. An accountant will assess the ways in which taxes may reduce what everyone receives or make inheritances unequal. This will prevent infighting over money.
They Can Simplify Your Estate
Does your estate include a number of different elements? Does it have debts that will outlive you? Complex investment portfolios? Business interests? An accountant will help you unravel any of your complex assets to see how you can simplify them for heirs. For example, changing your business entity could allow for simpler division among heirs or a quicker sale.
They Will Run Scenarios
An attorney will complete any legal requirements necessary for estate distribution, but sometimes they aren't the best person to help decide the specifics of who gets what. For this, you need to know how to properly value certain assets, understand changes in value over time, and find appropriate assets for each party. Your accountant can crunch the numbers to figure out the best strategy to divide things evenly among everyone involved.
They Can Assist With Execution
Who will execute your estate plan? Some Americans appoint a finance professional as an executor to benefit from both their financial training and their role as an impartial outsider. Even if you plan to appoint a different executor, the accountant can help explain complex subjects to heirs, sell assets, and provide any necessary documentation to improve transparency.
They Keep the Estate Updated
A big source of heir conflicts can be that an old estate plan hasn't kept up with the times. It's more likely to be contested or cause squabbles if the values of some assets have grown while others have lost ground, for instance, failure to readjust your plans will result in unequal inheritances. Your accountant will meet on a recurring basis to see if your estate plan still meets the heirs' interests.
Want to know more about an accountant's value in preventing future disharmony among your heirs? Start by meeting with a public accountant in your state today. Together, you can craft an estate plan that stands up to the test of time and keeps things as smooth as possible for your loved ones after you pass.