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:
Legacy planning is one of the most neglected parts of financial and estate planning. That’s too bad, because good choices about leaving a legacy can have powerful effects. Too often, estate planners and individuals focus only on the tax effects of potential giving strategies. But focusing more on non-tax effects and making shrewd choices can […]
If you have young grand- children, take a fresh look at 529 education savings plans. These always were good estate planning tools, but a series of chang- es in recent years make them more attractive ways for grandparents to help grandchildren. You can set up a 529 savings plan account for any beneficiary, and you […]
You’ve seen the hype. Now, let’s look at the facts. There’s a widely promoted estate and financial planning strategy I’m often asked about. It’s been called the Secret 770 Account and the President’s Account. Other names are Banking on Yourself®, Infinite Banking®, LIRP, and Becoming Your Own Banker®. I’ve also seen it described as The […]
Congress is making it more and more difficult to deduct charitable contributions. So it’s good to know the latest rules… so the IRS won’t be able to deny tax breaks for your charitable donations. The increase in the standard deduction – in the 2017 tax law – means you have to give more to receive […]
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Many people have heard that the “portabili- ty” rule essen- tially doubles the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption for married couples, but most people don’t know important details about how the rule works. Before portability was created in 2010, the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption was a use-it-or-lose-it benefit. When one spouse’s estate […]
Improving the estate plan is a top concern for more people these days for several good reasons. The pandemic showed many peo- ple that delaying estate planning isn’t a good idea. The aging of the Baby Boomers naturally increases the number of people who know it is time to button down their plans. Also, various […]
Most estate plan failures aren’t due to flaws in the documents or the strategies. A high percentage of plans fall short of their goals, and it’s often because the people implementing them didn’t have all the information they needed. You see, an estate plan covers more than the property you leave to others. It covers […]
Most estate plan failures aren’t due to flaws in the documents or the strategies. A high percent- age of plans fall short of their goals, and it’s often because the people implementing them didn’t have all the information they needed. An estate plan covers more than the property you leave to others. It covers other […]