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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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What is the Definition of a Last Will and Testament?

November 11, 2020

  The terms “last will and testament” and “will” often are used interchangeably and today mean the same thing. Both refer to a legal document that outlines a person’s final wishes regarding the distribution of assets and property after death and often other matters, such as the guardianship of minor children.    Will is often […]

Estate Planning

How to Write a Last Will and Testament

November 11, 2020

  About 74% of Americans lack a last will and testament, often because they find it a confusing or difficult topic. Writing a will is not as difficult as many people believe, and many people can do it with or without a lawyer. A lawyer is not required for a valid will, but many people […]

Last Will and Testament Template

November 11, 2020

  About 74% of Americans lack a last will and testament.   However, the last will and testament, is fairly easy to prepare. A last will and testament is a legal document that describes how the estate is to be distributed according to the wishes of the testator and sometimes covers other issues.   You […]

How to Transfer Assets Out of Your Estate Yet Retain Access to the Money

October 28, 2020

You can take advantage of today’s big estate and gift tax opportunities and still retain some access to your wealth.Estate planning strategies are never going to be as effective as they are now because of the high exemption amounts, low estate and gift tax rate and low interest rates. See our July 2020 issue for […]

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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

What is a Probate Sale and How Does It Work?

October 23, 2020

  Probate is the legal process that ensures your debts are paid and legal title of your assets is transferred to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. If you have a will, the probate process will determine whether the will is authentic and valid.    A probate sale is when property that was owned by the […]

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How Does Probate of Real Estate Work?

October 23, 2020

  Probate is the legal process that ensures your debts are paid and legal title of your assets is transferred to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. If you have a will, the probate process will determine whether the will is authentic and valid.    The last will and testament of the person who created it, […]

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of the Probate Judge?

October 23, 2020

  Probate is the legal process that ensures your debts are paid and legal title of your assets is transferred to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries. If you have a will, the probate process will determine whether the will is authentic and valid. During the process, an executor will be appointed to administer the estate. […]

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