Estate Planning at its most basic 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 basic 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 Basics, please start with our article:
A good estate plan includes a lot more than will. Among the documents to be included are those about medical care. The traditional document is a living will but I’ve downplayed the importance of living wills for years since a better document is the medical care proxy or power of attorney. There are a number […]
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Everyone needs an estate plan, no matter how much or how little money is involved. For example, you need an estate plan even if you don’t expect to owe taxes on the estate. It is more important to decide who should receive the wealth, how much each should receive and when and how the wealth […]
It’s now 2020, and many people still have their estate plans on the backburner. They know the estate tax has changed a lot in recent years, and probably will change again. Many believe that since today’s generous estate tax exemption exceeds the value of their estate, they don’t need to worry about an estate plan. That’s a big mistake, and needs to be emphasized. […]
Estate planning can be challenging, but this free course on the basics of estate planning makes the process easier to understand. This free estate planning course is designed to educate people on the basics of estate planning. This free estate planning course breaks down the complex process of estate planning into smaller, more understandable parts. […]
The Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide – Table of Contents Identifying Loved Ones Assets and Property Non-Financial Issues Legacy The Will Estate Planning Documents Estate Asset Identification and Tracking Health Care Directives Financial Power of Attorney IRA and Retirement Beneficiaries Avoiding Probate Living Trusts QTIP Trusts Spouse’s Estate Considerations Life Insurance Business Ownership […]
It is not avoiding taxes or probate. Estate planning is deciding how your wealth should be transferred to the next generation (or other heirs of your choice), then determining which legal tools to use to meet those goals. Only after establishing how you want the assets distributed do you consider ways to reduce taxes, to […]
Most estate planners say the 2017 tax law made the estate tax rules permanent. But permanent doesn’t mean the same thing in Washington, D.C., that it does in the rest of the country. There’s a good chance the estate and gift tax will change substantially after the 2020 election, and you should prepare for key […]