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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Here’s Part II of my retirement Asset Protection Plan. To review Part I, click here. 6. Create trusts. Irrevocable trusts usually protect assets from creditors of either the grantor or the beneficiaries of the trust. They also ensure that the assets are out of your estate for tax purposes. A good asset protection trust should […]
Taxes, the IRS, attorneys, and estate processing costs are not the only enemies of your wealth. More and more people are concerned about creditors, especially those created by lawsuits. With the estate tax not a concern for most, insurance coverage being reduced, and law suits increasing, many people are more concerned with this potential leak […]
Estate planning uses a wide range of terms and definitions. As a result, it is crucial that an individual understand the meanings of these terms and definitions to fully grasp the estate plan that is recommended and what it will do. An estate plan is created to ensure that you are taken care of the […]
What is Estate Planning – Contents: What is Estate Planning? Components of an Estate Plan The Will Probate Trusts Revocable Living Trusts Power of Attorney Medical Care Documents Other Estate Plan Documents Lifetime Gifts Life Insurance Burial and Funeral Estate Planning Mistakes Beginning the Estate Planning Process Estate Planning Forms and Documents Estate Planning Checklist […]
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There are four basic strategies for reducing estate taxes: • Reducing assets from the estate • Removing future appreciation from the estate • Increasing deductions, and • Buying life insurance. Within those four estate planning strategies are many options. Not all will be appropriate for you. But below I discuss your estate tax reduction options […]
Last week, I shared with you Part I of my list of 5 questions for updating your estate plan. Today we’ll pick back up at number 3… 3. Here’s the third question about updating your estate plan… Where are you spending time? Each state has its own laws governing estates, trusts, property ownership, and powers […]
Having an estate plan is important, but having one means only part of your job is done. A plan has to be complete and current. Not enough people have an estate plan, but of those who do… A high percentage let their plans become outdated. Sometimes having a plan that isn’t current is worse than […]
Many people believe estate planning is mostly about money, especially taxes. A good estate plan is much more. Estate planning and retirement planning sometimes require us to consider questions that make us uncomfortable. But if we don’t consider those questions now, there’s a high probability our future well-being and that of our family will be […]