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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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A Key Estate Planning Tool for Uncertain Times

September 28, 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 action. […]

estate planning

What is Probate? A Guide to the Probate Process

September 18, 2020

Probate is the legal process that ensures your debts are paid and the 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. Each state sets its own probate process and rules in its probate […]

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 […]

estate planning

What Is and Isn’t Included in a Will?

August 19, 2020

A will is a written document in which an individual, known as a testator, directs how his or her assets are to be divided and other matters are to be handled after his or her death. However, wills are not a do-it-all document. A testator should be aware of what should and shouldn’t be included […]

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10 Things to Know About Writing a Will

August 19, 2020

A will is critical to ensuring your legacy. It determines how assets are distributed to your loved ones and how efficiently they are distributed, among other issues. Having a good will can reduce the expense and hassles of processing your estate. When you don’t have a will, things are likely to be more expensive and […]

Estate Planning

How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer

August 19, 2020

A will is a written legal document in which a person, known as the testator, sets forth his or her wishes on how an estate’s assets are to be distributed, who will serve as guardians of any minor children, and other issues. A will also should appoint an executor(s) to administer the estate. In a […]

estate planning

What Are the Four Basic Types of Wills?

August 19, 2020

A will is a legal document in which a person, known as the testator, sets forth his or her wishes on how to distribute an estate’s assets, pay debts, care for any minor children, donate to charity and perhaps other issues after the individual dies. It is a crucial part of any estate plan. The […]

Estate Planning

What is a Will and Why Do I Need One?

August 19, 2020

A will is a legal document in which a person, known as the testator, sets forth his or her wishes on how to distribute an estate’s assets, pay debts, care for any minor children and perhaps other issues after the individual dies. Most often, the testator appoints one or more executors to administer the estate […]

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