Estate planning across a lifetime

North Carolina residents with many investments may have some specific needs when it comes to estate planning. They might want to view estate planning as a lifelong process rather than simply something that occurs at the end of their life. This gives them the opportunity to use investment vehicles to help teach family members about wise money management and to pass on assets prior to appreciation to reduce the value of the estate for federal estate tax purposes.

Angel investors in particular should be careful to leave details for family members about the nature of their investments and their value since in many cases they do not receive regular statements. Angel investments can be made through trusts with the involvement of family members to help teach them about the investment process. When set up properly, trusts can also protect assets from creditors and can specify certain uses for the beneficiaries. For example, a trust might be set up specifically to pay for children's college educations or to help them buy their first home.

Investors should consider speaking with lawyers and other professionals in order to put the best plan in place based on their goals. Using trusts and other estate planning vehicles, they can reduce their tax burden, make charitable investments, and preserve wealth for their family across generations.

There are a number of different types of trusts that may be suitable for a person's circumstances and that an attorney can suggest. Even people who do not have large estates may benefit from using trusts in estate planning. For example, if a person wants to leave money to a beneficiary who is financially irresponsible, a trust can be designed so that distributions only happen at certain times or are triggered by certain milestones.

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