Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the process of determining how your wealth and assets should be transferred to the heirs of your choice: your children, grandchildren, friends, families, charitable causes, etc. and then deciding which legal tools and structures to use to best meet your estate planning goals.

Estate planning is not simply reducing or eliminating taxes and avoiding probate.  Only after establishing how you want your estate’s assets to be distributed should you consider ways to reduce taxes and avoid probate. From there, good estate plans deal with a host of other issues. Now, with all but a few estates exempt from the federal estate tax, those other issues are, or should be, at the forefront of estate planning.

An estate plan is to ensure that you are taken care of the rest of your life and that your wealth is transferred to the people you want to have it. A good estate plan ensures these goals are accomplished with as much efficiency and as little cost as possible. An estate plan addresses the management and distribution of an individual’s property and financial obligations after he or she dies with financial tools such as wills, revocable living trusts and power of attorney.

For a comprehensive overview of Estate Planning, please start with our article:

 

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how-the-2001-tax-law-affects-your-will

How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer, Part II

October 27, 2020

In last week’s Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented Part 1 of How To Make a Will Without a Lawyer. Here’s Part 2: Name Guardians for Your Children When a testator has minor children, the will should designate one or more individuals who will serve as guardians for the children if both parents are deceased. It […]

Estate Planning

How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer

October 20, 2020

In a survey taken in 2019, 53% of people who did not have a will said the reason they didn’t have a will was the difficulty of finding an attorney they could trust. However, you don’t need a lawyer to prepare a will for you. You can prepare a will yourself, and there are plenty […]

part-ii-how-to-use-life-insurance-under-the-new-estate-tax-laws

Make These Moves to Your Estate Plan Before the Election: Part II

October 13, 2020

In last week’s Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented Make These Moves to Your Estate Plan Before the Election. Let’s jump back in with one move that caught many of our readers by surprise: Adult children who may choose to disclaim their inheritance. Some who disclaim an IRA may not need the money now or are […]

Estate Planning

Make These Moves to Your Estate Plan Before the Election

October 6, 2020

Rarely has the estate planning environment been as uncertain as it is now. The current estate tax law is set to expire after 2025. After that, the lifetime exemption will be cut in half and other changes will be made if Congress doesn’t act. Key income tax breaks also will expire after 2025 without congressional […]

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Estate Planning

Estate Planning for Those with Special Needs: The Special Needs Trust

August 24, 2020

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented Estate Planning for Those with Special Needs. There are other important provisions for proper estate planning in this scenario, so let’s dive right in. Living trusts become more important to those with chronic illness or conditions. These trusts allow a co-trustee to manage trust assets […]

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How To Create an Estate Plan for Those with Special Needs

August 16, 2020

Estate planning typically focuses on healthy people and their families. Many families, however, have one or more members with chronic illnesses or conditions. That changes the estate planning equation. The person with the illness or condition might be the estate owner or a loved one of the owner, especially a child. In either case, the […]

private-annuity-trusts-new-rules

How To Create a Trust for Your Heirs (Part 2)

August 3, 2020

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented How To Create a Trust for Your Heirs. There are a few more important provisions and clauses for setting up beneficiary trusts, so let’s get right to it. Matching Trust: This is another clause designed to pay out trust principal only when the beneficiary has […]

Estate Planning

Will vs. Trust: Which is Better?

July 27, 2020

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” said inventor, diplomat and founding father Benjamin Franklin in describing the importance of planning for the future. It is only natural for people to want to maintain some level of control over the assets that they worked so hard to accumulate throughout their life. Creating a […]

November 2020:

Congress Comes for your Retirement Money

A devastating new law has just been enacted, with serious consequences for anyone holding an IRA, pension, or 401(k). Fortunately, there are still steps you can take to sidestep Congress, starting with this ONE SIMPLE MOVE.
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