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:
In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented Estate Planning for “Modern Families.” There’s a lot more ground to cover, so let’s dive right back in – starting with estate tax implications for single people. Under the estate and gift tax, singles do not have the advantage of the marital deduction. An unmarried […]
Trusts are typically thought of as tools for the wealthy, however, affluence is not a prerequisite to reap the benefits of owning a trust. Trusts can be useful estate planning tools for many people, but it may not be worth the expense for people who do not have many assets. Background: What is a Trust? […]
The make-up of the modern family has changed quite a bit over the years. Therefore, traditional estate plans won’t work well for many families these days. A traditional plan is for couples who are in their first and only marriage and have only kids from that marriage. Different plans, tools, and strategies might be needed […]
It is time to review the best ideas for executing an end-around of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Many financial and estate plans were upended by the passage of the SECURE Act in December 2019. Most notably, the SECURE Act eliminated the Stretch IRA, which had been a mainstay of […]
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We’re approaching a crossroad in estate planning, and many of my readers are among those who most need to take action before we reach it. Few people today have to worry about federal estate and gift taxes, be-cause of the high level of exemptions. The 2017 tax law doubled the individual exemption to $10 million. […]
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 […]
One of the most important tasks you undertake is to create an estate plan to ensure you’re taken care of for the rest of your life and then distribute your assets and provide for your loved ones after you die. A primary component of an estate plan is a will. It is crucial to outline […]
Most people are concerned about the financial futures of their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren- more so than the security of their own children. After ensuring their own retirement years are secure, many people tell survey takers the security of the third and fourth generations is their next worry. Apparently they believe their children can take […]