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Passing It On

Gifts and Inheritances

Unless you’re a “take it with you” kind of person, you’ll want to make some plans for passing on gifts and inheritances you’ve decided to save for along the way.

grandparent planned his future with BOK Financial so that they could enjoy a less stressful tomorrow with their grandchild.

Passing It On

Now is the time to review your will, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. An experienced advisor can help make sure your wishes are correctly recorded so that your kids, grandkids, favorite charity, or whoever you select will benefit from your generosity. Remember, you may visit this stage several times throughout your life as your situation or goals change.

grandchild hugging their grandparent as they'll benefit from their grandparent's generosity due to will planning with BOK Financial.

The tax rates on inheritances can be as low as 1 percent or as high as 20 percent of the value of property and cash you inherit. 1

Did You Know?

When making long-term financial plans and estate plans, you might run into special concerns: Will the right people inherit your money? Are you sure your heirs are able to manage their inheritance responsibly? Are there any strategies to help you transfer your money to the next generation or to charity or tax efficiently?

For all those various types of concerns, you might want to consider setting up a trust. These are legal arrangements that allow you to better determine the distribution of your property during or after your lifetime.

client making long-term financial and estate plans with a BOK Financial advisor.
  • zero point seven percent

    Americans gave $427.71 billion in charitable giving in 2018. This reflects a 0.7% increase from 2017. 2

  • eighteen percent

    Only 18 percent of people over 55 have all of the recommended legacy plan essentials: a will, a health care directive, and durable power of attorney. 3

  • thirty-three point three percent

    One in three American adults with investable assets say their financial stability is dependent on receiving an inheritance. 4

About half of all inheritances are less than $50,000, and an additional 30 percent range from $50,000 to $249,000, according to the Federal Reserve. 5

5 Key Documents to Protect Your Assets

Planning to pass down your assets? Here are five key documents that can help.

Preparing the Next Generation

Are your children ready to manage your family's assets? Teach them financial responsibility now to prepare them.

The Basics

It depends on how long you've worked in a job where you've paid social security taxes and how old your children are at the time of your passing.

First, how long you’ve worked: you must have earned the required number of social security credits by working in a job where you pay social security taxes on your earnings. Typically, the required number of credits is 40, depending on your age at the time of your death. But a special rule applies to young workers that may allow your children to be eligible for benefits if you earned at least six Social Security credits in the three years just before your death. Because you can earn only four credits per year, you must have worked at least a year and a half to earn these six credits.

To be eligible for social security benefits when you die, your children must be age 18 or under (19 if still in high school), and unmarried. Special rules apply to unmarried children who are disabled. Your child may be eligible to receive up to 75% of the benefit that the Social Security Administration calculates you would have received if you had reached full retirement age at the time of your death. Various factors will affect the amount of your child's benefit, including whether other family members are also receiving benefits on your earnings record.

To find out more about what survivors benefits your child might receive if you die, based on your earnings record, check your social security statement. To access your statement, sign up for a my SocialSecurity account at the Social Security Administration's website,

Talk to your financial advisor. They’ll discuss your wishes and, based upon a number of factors, can guide you through the many options available to you.

There’s no time like the present. In fact, the sooner you get a plan in place, the more peace of mind you’ll have. In addition, you’ll be prepared should the unexpected occur, and your wishes will have already been made known and legally set in place. Without a formal plan, your wealth will be susceptible to court decisions and unprotected from taxes. While your heirs will be left without the benefit of the generosity you’d intended for them. The safer course of action would be to start planning with your financial advisor today.

Now. Your exit strategy and the subsequent transfer of power can be a complicated and emotional issue. The sooner you make a formal plan, the sooner you can start to groom the next generation of business leaders or keep things on track for a successful sale, if that’s what you prefer.

The key is deciding now what you want the future of your company to look like. Do you want control of the company to go to certain people, or do you want to provide for those people without leaving them the responsibilities that go with running a business? Both courses of action require prudent planning on your part. In fact, the process could take years. The right business succession plan will help you make important decisions about ownership, maximizing your company's value and identifying beneficial tax strategies.

In general, those without children often plan to make sure their surviving spouse is taken care of and that their wishes for end-of-life care are respected. In addition, making sure your pet(s) have a new home, rather than a shelter, can be a priority as well.

Beyond that, a worthy charity, church or alma mater can all benefit from your generosity. An advisor can help with a plan to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Nearly 70 percent of millennials in the Natixis U.S. Investor Survey reported that they expect an inheritance, yet only 40 percent of their parents planned to leave one. 6

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