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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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Common But Surprising Estate Planning Problems and How to Identify Them

August 31, 2021

Many estate plans look solid on the surface, but a deep dive into a plan, and especially into the dynamics around it, often reveals a plan with a serious problem or two. Estate owners are surprised when these problems are pointed out to them. If they aren’t fortunate enough to have the problems revealed, their […]

estate planning

How to Shelter Your Estate Plan from Disasters [Part 2]

August 29, 2021

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I shared my checklist on how to protect your estate plan from the kinds of disasters people rarely consider. Today, let’s wrap up the checklist with steps 4 through 7: Step 4: Document your property. To recover all or most of what you lose in a disaster, […]

estate planning

How to Shelter Your Estate Plan from Disasters

August 22, 2021

It can happen to any of us… It doesn’t have to be a historic outbreak, hurricane, flood, or wildfire. You could be at risk from a broken water pipe, a tree falling on your home, or some other event. Bottom line: You don’t want short-term events to cause a permanent reduction in your financial security. […]

Estate Planning

Will These Estate Plan Changes Affect Your Retirement?

August 15, 2021

Fellow Investor, There are four basic strategies for reducing estate taxes: Reducing assets from the gross estate Removing future appreciation from the gross estate Increasing deductions Buying life insurance Within those four strategies are many options. Not all will be appropriate for you. But there are quite a few strategies – and it’s always good […]

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estate planning

The Foundations Of A Great Estate Plan [Part 2]

July 26, 2021

Today, we’ll pick up where we left off last week, with more advice on making the most of your estate plan. Should Heirs Get Equal Shares of the Estate? Parents have several different reasons for considering leaving unequal shares of their estates to children. Some parents are tempted to leave a child less money because […]

What to Do Now, While Congress Deliberates About Estate Taxes

July 20, 2021

Congress is deliberating some of the most significant estate and gift tax changes in decades. The proposals being considered are for substantial increases in estate and gift taxes for many Americans. Most people say that they’ll simply wait to see what Congress does before considering changes to their estate plans.But there’s a big risk to […]

When a DAPT Should Be Part of Your Estate Plan

July 20, 2021

Asset protection is becoming a more import-ant part of many estate plans, and a domestic asset protection trust (DAPT) is the strategy of choice in more and more plans. A DAPT can help achieve several estate planning goals.Of course, the prime reason to consider a DAPT is to protect assets from potential creditors, including potential […]

Estate Planning

The Foundations Of A Great Estate Plan

July 19, 2021

Everyone needs an estate plan, no matter how much or how little money is involved. For example, you need an estate plan even if you don’t expect to owe taxes on the estate. It is more important to decide who should receive the wealth, how much each should receive and when and how the wealth […]

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