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

September 17, 2019

As we’ve seen, it is easy to cut your estate taxes to zero, especially if you’re married. All you have to do is leave everything to your spouse. Your estate gets an unlimited marital deduction for all property left to your spouse. So having your spouse inherit everything eliminates taxes on your estate. Despite the […]

Supreme Court Shuts Down a State Scheme to Tax Out-of-State Trusts

September 17, 2019

States have been aggressively trying to expand their tax bases, and their efforts aren’t always successful. The U.S. Supreme Court recently shut down an attempt by North Carolina, which other states have fully or partially replicated, to impose income taxes on what are essentially out-of-state trusts. In the case, the trustee resided in Connecticut, the […]

Digital Estate Planning: How to Organize and Protect Your Digital Assets and Transactions

September 17, 2019

Your estate plan is incomplete if it doesn’t have arrangements for your digital life, including accounts, files, trans-actions and more. Technology is taking a greater role in our lives, even for those who consider themselves Luddites. It took a while, but estate law finally is just about caught up to technology, and it’s essential to […]

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Estate Planning Checklist – 10 Simple Ways to Protect Your Assets, Part II

September 10, 2019

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 […]

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Estate Planning – 10-Step Asset Protection Plan and Checklist Part I

September 3, 2019

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

Estate Planning Basics – What Are the Most Used Definitions and Terms in Estate Planning and What Do They Mean?

August 16, 2019

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 […]

Estate Planning

What Is Estate Planning? A Comprehensive Overview of the Basics

August 16, 2019

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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How to Reduce Estate Taxes and Cut the IRS Out of Your Estate Plan

August 13, 2019

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 […]

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