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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

The Ultimate Will and Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide

December 18, 2019

The Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist and Basics Guide – Table of Contents Identifying Loved Ones Assets and Property Non-Financial Issues Legacy The Will Estate Planning Documents Estate Asset Identification and Tracking Health Care Directives Financial Power of Attorney IRA and Retirement Beneficiaries Avoiding Probate Living Trusts QTIP Trusts Spouse’s Estate Considerations Life Insurance Business Ownership […]

Estate Planning

Estate Planning Basics: What is estate planning?

December 16, 2019

It is not avoiding taxes or probate. Estate planning is deciding how your wealth should be transferred to the next generation (or other heirs of your choice), then determining which legal tools to use to meet those goals. Only after establishing how you want the assets distributed do you consider ways to reduce taxes, to […]

estate plan

Wills and Estate Planning: 6 Reasons Why your Will is Critical to Your Estate Plan

December 16, 2019

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 […]

IRS Revises Tax Amounts for 2020, Issues New Rules on Gift Tax Exemption

December 15, 2019

The IRS announced the annual inflation increases for various tax provisions as of January 1, 2020. The lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is increased to $11.58 million (from $11.4 million). A couple can jointly exempt $23.16 million from estate and gift taxes. The annual gift tax exclusion remains $15,000 for 2020. The standard deduction […]

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Mastering the Nuts and Bolts of Living Trusts

December 15, 2019

Many people, perhaps most people, have living trusts as part of their estate plans. Yet, the communications I receive indicate that the workings of living trusts are a mystery to most people. Living trusts, also known as revocable living trusts, are a key element of most estate plans, because the assets held in a living […]

Estate Planning

How To Plug the Estate Tax and Estate Liquidity Leaks in Your Will & Estate Plan

December 3, 2019

Everyone needs a will… even if all your assets are owned by a living trust or held in joint title. A will is a legal document in which a person, known as the testator, sets forth his or her wishes about how to distribute an estate’s assets, pay debts, care for any minor children,  and […]

Electronic Wills Are Coming

November 20, 2019

Very slowly but surely, estate planning law is catching up to modern technology. The latest development paves the way for electronic wills in most states. An electronic will, or e-will, is one that recognizes the traditional formalities of a will when they’re in an electronic format. An e-will can be written in an electronic medium, […]

Everyone Should Revisit Estate Planning Before the 2020 Election

November 20, 2019

Most estate planners say the 2017 tax law made the estate tax rules permanent. But permanent doesn’t mean the same thing in Washington, D.C., that it does in the rest of the country. There’s a good chance the estate and gift tax will change substantially after the 2020 election, and you should prepare for key […]

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