When one asks legal questions from anonymous others on a public forum, the advice is going to be worth precisely what you paid for it - which is....zero.
Much is going to depend on what assets you have, what is the age of your heirs, whether you were taking taxable distributions at the time of your death, and most importantly, your state laws!
I urge you to speak to an estate attorney, preferably one who drew up your trust! You might also wish to speak to a local certified financial advisor, such as a CFP or CPA with a PFS certification (Personal Financial Services), to determine the most optimal inheritance tax scenario to arrange. Right now with the estate tax laws having lapsed, Congress will eventually squabble and get something done that will be retroactive (proven to be legally valid, BTW).
Some states changed their tax laws to match the now-expired federal estate laws but some did not. Therefore, it's important that you find someone who can explain to you all the various scenarios that might happen so you can choose to make any changes that will be appropriate for your personal financial situation. Good luck to you!
In order to separate the 'wheat from the chaff', it would be necessary to research all suggestions. I have read many a discussion forum where people make statements that are only true for their own situation in their specific state of domicile, completely unaware that for someone residing elsewhere, the statement is invalid.
So if you are going to have to do research to find out whose advice is worthwhile and whose advice is not....you might as well either resign yourself to spending a lot of time on the Net, or instead go straight to a reliable source of information such as a professional who specializes in the matter at hand.
I don't believe people should randomly ask for legal advice on a public forum, especially when it comes to estate planning, for the simple reason that state laws differ wildly. What is true for my situation and my trust, will not be true for anyone else. Period. Our trust is not a standard document; we spent over six hours with a good probate attorney going over precisely how to frame the trust to reflect all our wishes.
Especially when it comes down to the specifics of estate tax planning, there is NO WAY I would endorse using free advice from helpful but uncertified anonymous Net posters, versus talking first to a qualified tax advisor, my financial advisor, and THEN the probate attorney. With the estate tax laws in a state of flux, it would be extraordinarily dangerous to assume that free advice from someone unacquainted with the specifics of an estate and the current state of residence tax laws, would be helpful or reliable.
I don't mind giving advice on generalities. But although I know a great deal about my own situation and can speak to my own experiences, I would never presume that a few sentences from a Net post can give me enough specifics to advise someone on such an important issue as how their assets can best be handled from a tax standpoint.
When a person has sufficient assets, you have a simple choice. You can pay for good professional advice - that means advisors who will bring up issues and problems you never would have thought of, so that when you die your legal documents will help things to go smoothly, with the least amount of uncertainty and debate.
Or you can be parsimonious and try to avoid paying for professional advice. Are you being penny-wise and pound-foolish? Who's going to know until after you're dead? Some people honestly don't care, after all.
The OP seems to be confused about the passing of POD accounts versus taxable assets. But there is not enough information given to be certain. So if we don't know the question, don't know where the OP lives, don't know whether his estate may or may not be taxed by the Feds or his state of residence, and know nothing about the phrasing of his trust or what assets are in the trust - what good can even the most well-meaning advice from Net forums accomplish?
It is always difficult for a beginner to define precisely what the most helpful questions would be.
However, it seems reasonable to assume that if one has tax questions, one consults a tax advisor - NOT an attorney. An attorney's fiduciary responsibility is to arrange your wishes in a legally defensible document. A good tax advisor, especially with a PFS certification, should be able to guide a client to the best alternatives from a tax standpoint. The financial advisor sets this up according to the client's wishes. The attorney produces the legal documents to distribute the estate after death.
One can certainly access good basic legal 'how to' reading. The "Dummies" book series are surprisingly good, as is the information on the Nolo Press website, a longtime advocate of DIY legal forms.
But after basic education, there is no substitute for good professional advice. There are a lot of people who never get beyond the DIY stage, but think they're capable of creating a complex legal entity without paying hundreds of dollars to someone else.
Books are good. I'm a bookbuyer first and a web surfer second. But you can't ask questions of a book, and there is no book that can address all aspects of one's holistic estate and financial planning.
That's good that your lawyer is also a CPA. Most are not, however, so you wouldn't want to ask their advice on tax laws.
I still would prefer a CPA with a PFS certification. CPAs do not normally specialize in estate laws - they get very little course time in it - and the estate laws are in such flux, it is a minefield right now.
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