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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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estate planning

Estate Planning Mistakes: Why Most Estate Plans Fail, Part II

November 12, 2019

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, we began revealing a list of reasons why most estate plans often fail. Please read on for the rest of the list… Clients generally need an estate planner who will spend some time getting to know about their families, their finances, and their general goals and values. […]


Estate Planning Mistakes – Why Most Estate Plans Fail

November 5, 2019

A large percentage of estate plans fail to achieve one or more of their goals, and many of them fail for a surprising reason. One cause is the most surprising and perhaps most frequent reason estate plans fail: The estate owners do not implement their plans. The failure to implement an estate plan is surprising. […]

7 Estate Planning Twists Everyone Should Know

October 24, 2019

You learn a lot of interesting things in estate planning. Most estate planners like what they do because of the variety of issues they face and the interesting things they learn about people. Here’s a collection of issues I’ve come across recently and questions I’ve been asked. When I was in law school, the transfer […]

estate planning

How the Stock Market Can Change Your Estate Plan

October 15, 2019

A new tax law isn’t the only reason to revisit your estate plan. The stock market and interest rate changes can alter the effects of many estate plans, often without their creators knowing the consequences. Here’s a guide to how changes in the stock market might affect your estate plan. As you know, the values […]

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How To Secure Your Digital Legacy and Estate Plan, Part II

October 8, 2019

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I detailed steps to secure your digital legacy (see Part I here). Today, we’ll return to this discussion… Bottom line: To make your estate plan complete, you’ll want to compile an inventory of all your digital accounts and assets. The inventory should include the name of the […]

Estate Planning

How To Secure Your Digital Legacy in Your Estate Plan

October 1, 2019

Almost all of us have digital assets that should be included in our estate plans. Technology and digital assets have become major parts of most of our lives, often more than we realize. A digital asset is any account, electronic device, or portion of a website that is password-protected. That covers a lot of ground. […]

7 Things About Wills You Must Know

September 24, 2019

Everyone has heard of wills, but many people don’t know some key facts about them. A will is essential to every estate plan and is a very powerful document. Many people are surprised to learn what they can do in a will, but they also are surprised what a will can’t do. First, there are […]

estate planning

Is the “QTIP Trust” Right for Your Estate Plan? Part II

September 24, 2019

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I introduced my readers to Qualified Terminal Interest Property (QTIP) trusts. Today, we’ll examine the most ideal situations in which to use them. 1. At least one spouse has children from a prior marriage, and that spouse wants to ensure that those children get at least a […]

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