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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

How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer [Part 2]

October 24, 2021

To follow up on last week’s Retirement Watch Weekly, here are 5 more steps you can take for making a legal will – without having to hire a lawyer. Name Guardians for Your Children When a testator has minor children, the will should designate one or more individuals who will serve as guardians for the […]

estate planning

How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer

October 17, 2021

In a recent survey, 53% of people who did not have a will gave this as their main reason: Difficulty finding an attorney they could trust. However, you don’t need a lawyer to prepare a will for you. You can prepare a will yourself, and there are plenty of resources, especially online, to guide you. […]

singles-need-estate-plans

Estate Planning for the Growing ‘Unmarried Population’

October 10, 2021

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I presented Estate Planning for “Modern Families.” There’s a lot more ground to cover, so let’s dive right back in – starting with estate tax implications for single people. Under the estate and gift tax, singles do not have the advantage of the marital deduction. An unmarried […]

how-annual-family-meetings-help-you-leave-a-legacy

Estate Planning for ‘Modern Families’

October 3, 2021

The make-up of the modern family has changed quite a bit over the years. Therefore, traditional estate plans won’t work well for many families these days. A traditional plan is for couples who are in their first and only marriage and have only kids from that marriage. Different plans, tools, and strategies might be needed […]

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Estate Planning

What Happens When You Neglect Your Estate Plan [TRUE STORIES]

September 26, 2021

Many people have their estate plans on the backburner. Two fairly recent cases show why procrastinating about or neglecting an estate plan is dangerous. In the first case, a family corporation’s ownership was divided among the husband, wife, and two adult sons. The wife passed away first. There apparently was no will, and no estate […]

estate planning

How To Craft the Perfect Will for Your Estate Plan: Part II

September 19, 2021

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, we discussed ways to construct a will to maximize the inheritance you pass on to your heirs. In this week’s, we’ll continue exploring this topic. Know your Children & Anticipate Issues with Your Estate Naming the oldest adult child as executor of an estate is very common […]

Estate Planning

How To Craft the Perfect Will for Your Estate Plan

September 12, 2021

It doesn’t take much to tarnish a gem of an estate plan, and with it your legacy. A misplaced word, missing clause, or miscommunication between lawyer and client can send your will and your ordered estate plan spinning into chaos. You can avoid such a fate. Follow these last will and testament guidelines, and you’ll […]

Runaway Guardianships: Three Steps to Avoiding Them

August 31, 2021

I never would have guessed that Britney Spears would be the name and face that makes the case for having your estate plan in order, but that’s the current reality. The 39-year-old entertainer has been under a conservatorship since 2008. That means she was deemed unable to care for herself and not qualified to make […]

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