Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Core Facts

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If you want to make sure your assets are inherited by the intended parties, no matter the size of your estate, you’ll need an estate plan. If done right, your plan can also limit the taxes owed by the beneficiary. 

Here are some helpful tips:

Who gets what

Be specific. It’s all in the details. And that includes non-financial assets as well, such as if you want your niece to inherit that necklace that she always admired, or your grandson to drive off in that vintage car you’ve been working on for years, or if you’d like to make your cousin the proud owner of that Picasso that he always stopped and stared at in your living room. 

Check with the financial institution that holds the asset to determine the rules that apply with regard to tax-deferred retirement accounts in the United States and life insurance policies.


You may need to create a trust that includes provisions if you want a say in how inheritances should be spent. For instance, you might want to set aside precise amounts to cover your grandchildren’s college. The trustee of the trust would be legally bound to ensure that the designated amounts are used to cover these expenses.


Your beneficiaries may owe estate and income tax on the amounts you pass on, so you might be able to minimize these taxes by using tax-efficient strategies. For example, you could leave taxable assets to charities if charities are included in your list of beneficiaries, and leave your tax-free assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance and after-tax savings to your other beneficiaries. It is best to consult a tax expert in these matters. 

An individual can leave $5.49 million to heirs, and pay no federal estate or gift tax. Also, you can reduce your taxable estate by gifting amounts to your beneficiaries while you are alive, and the gift would be nontaxable if it is $14,000 annually for each recipient. 





Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities. 

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. 

Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. Member FINRA & SIPC


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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website:

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Jake Mendlinger
Account Manager
516.829.8374 X 232

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