Your family has always depended on you to take care of them, and you don’t want that to change even when you’re not around. You can take steps to ensure that they can rely on you even after you’re gone, by protecting your assets.

If you’re like the 44% of Americans that don’t have an estate plan in place, it could end up costing your family. Without your final wishes in writing, your estate will likely be directly subject to applicable tax laws. But there are steps you can make to protect your assets.

Intestate estates

Without a solid course of action for your assets, your estate will likely be held to intestate succession. This means that New York will distribute your holdings according to state law, which could leave your assets more susceptible to taxes. But even if you have a plan for distribution, there are probably additional steps you can take to cover your resources.

In good company

You could form a Family Limited Partnerships (FLP) or Limited Liability Companies (LLC) to put some of your assets under an umbrella shared by your family. This could allow you to transfer funds among your beneficiaries in more favorable conditions than direct gifting, and help when it’s time to think about an estate tax.

Trusting a third party

You can also assign a trustee to handle your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. By creating a trust, your assets can continue on after you pass. This can allow them the possibility of avoiding the costs and delays of probate, claims from creditors and hefty tax consequences. There are all kinds of different trusts, so you’ll need to decide which is right for you:

  • Asset protection
  • Generation-skipping
  • Special needs
  • Charitable leads
  • Testamentary

The proper groundwork for your estate could provide some additional shelter to your assets. This can mean less delay in handing out better-preserved property, allowing you to better care for your family even after you’ve gone.