One of the most important issues in estate planning is what happens to your money after you die. How quickly your heirs receive the inheritance depends largely on your estate planning. (If you’re having any difficulties with an inheritance, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
3 things to consider when planning your estate
When setting up U.S. IRA and brokerage accounts for clients who live in Israel, I ask them to consider what will happen when they no longer need their money. Here’s where to start:
1. Provide beneficiaries for your retirement accounts. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, and many other retirement and insurance programs can be transferred to heirs via a beneficiary designation, and therefore do not need to be included in a will. When you fill in the new account paperwork, provide details about who should get the money and what percentage they should receive.
2. Consider a trust. If simply dividing up the money amongst the children and grandchildren wouldn’t work for your family, a trust can provide more control, though you should be wary about trying to control your estate from the grave. In cases where children might not have financial skills or where there is a risk of litigation, a trust can protect assets. Israel passed new trust laws recently, so if you already have a trust, or if you’re thinking of establishing one, speak to an attorney to get proper advice.
3. Make a clear will. When my office helps to disburse deceased clients’ accounts to the heirs, we find the process goes smoothly if the clients had written a clear will with the help of an attorney. Folks who try to save on legal fees can end up costing their estate a lot more in the end since problematic documents mean hours of a lawyer’s time to handle.
When clients pass away, we work with the family and guide them step by step through the money transfer. If you have questions about handling your estate, send me an email (email@example.com) or call (02-624-2788) and let’s begin a conversation about how to make the right moves.
For more information about estate planning, listen to this podcast.
Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the Director of Profile Investment Service, Ltd., which specializes in helping people who live in Israel with their US dollar assets and American investment and retirement accounts. He helps olim meet their financial goals through asset allocation, financial planning, and using money managers.
Published January 10, 2017. Updated December 2019.