A well-executed estate plan is generally considered superior to deathbed gifting for several reasons:
- Control: An estate plan allows individuals to retain control over their assets and decide how they will be distributed after death. Deathbed gifting, on the other hand, means giving away assets before death and losing control over them.
- Flexibility: An estate plan can be structured to achieve various goals, such as minimizing taxes, providing for loved ones, and supporting charitable causes. Deathbed gifting is a one-time event and may not be able to accomplish all of these goals.
- Planning: A well-executed estate plan is typically created well before death and is based on a thorough understanding of the individual’s circumstances, goals, and tax laws. Deathbed gifting, on the other hand, is often done in haste and without proper planning.
- Family Harmony: An estate plan can be designed to avoid conflicts among family members and ensure that assets are distributed in a fair and equitable way. Deathbed gifting can sometimes cause conflicts, particularly if gifts are perceived as unfair or if beneficiaries are not consulted.
- Professional Advice: An estate plan is developed with the help of professionals such as attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors, who can provide legal, tax, and financial advice and ensure that the plan is structured in a way that is most beneficial to the individual and their beneficiaries.
- Medicaid Eligibility: A well-executed estate plan can be structured to preserve the individual’s Medicaid eligibility. This is particularly important for individuals who may need long-term care.
In summary, a well-executed estate plan provides greater control, flexibility, planning, family harmony, and professional advice. It also allows for better preservation of the individual’s financial resources for long-term care needs.