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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Retirement abroad is enticing to more and more Americans, but many of them make key mistakes that spoil their plans for a foreign retirement haven. The Social Security Administration reports it sends benefits to more than half a million U.S. retirees living overseas. The number increased substantially over the last 10 years. But it significantly […]
Health savings accounts (HSAs) are the best retirement planning tool available, but some people don’t know a legal trick to fully funding their HSAs. An HSA has three powerful tax benefits. Contributions to the account are tax deductible or excluded from gross income when an employer makes them. The account can be invested, and income […]
There’s an important gap in many estate plans. The oversight can cause a large portion of your estate to end up with people other than your loved ones. The Estate Planning goal many people overlook is to ensure that a large portion of the estate doesn’t end up in the hands of people you never […]
There have been quite a few changes in the markets the last few months. Let’s review some of them today. Most stock indexes hit lows on Christmas Eve 2018 and have been moving higher since then. Earnings and other fundamentals haven’t been improving as much. The result is stocks generally sell at higher valuations than […]
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Many estate plans fail, and often not because of any flaws in the documents or the plans. Estate Planning failures frequently occur in the implementation and execution. Especially important are actions taken by others, often your children. They’re likely to be the ones putting key parts of the plan into action, not you. So to ensure […]
The economy clearly is slowing. Is there a recession on the way? Most of the economic data the last few months has been weaker than previous data and weaker than expected. That has caused many economists to begin warning that a recession might occur in 2020 and perhaps later in 2019. Corporations have been issuing […]
Investors should shift their focus from the United States to other economies, especially Europe. Most investors have been complacent about Europe since the Greek debt crisis seemed to be resolved a few years ago. But there’s a lot more going on in Europe, and little of it is good. The European economy has been weak […]
Most investors are focused on U.S. markets, but this is a good time to take a look at emerging markets. While U.S. markets were outpacing the world from the second half of 2016 through the first three quarters of 2018, emerging markets lumbered through another bear market during much of that time. We sold our […]