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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Trusts are vital to most estate plans, even plans of moderately valued estates. Trusts are likely to be more widely used in the coming years. Today’s generous estate tax exemption is slated to expire after 2025, and there is a good possibility that after this year’s election there will be a movement to reduce the […]
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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 […]
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 […]
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act, enacted in March, contained tax breaks related to retirees and retirement plans, including reduced penalties for taking early IRA distributions, waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) and the option to spread taxes on retirement plan distributions over three years. You can read the previous article for […]
IRA and 401(k) owners recently received expand-ed tax breaks, thanks to some new IRS guidance on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.The CARES Act already provided valuable tax breaks. Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are suspended for 2020. Plus, the law relaxed restrictions on taking loans and distributions from retirement plans. In recent […]