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:
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Many people wish to save income taxes today, and create a stream of retirement income in the future. The FLIP trust, especially the FLIP-CRUT (charitable remainder unitrust), is a venerable way to accomplish both goals. The FLIP-CRUT strategy begins with a charitable remainder trust (CRT). An individual (known as the grantor) executes a trust agreement […]
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Estate Planning advisors agree that one of the most underused estate planning strategies is the charitable remainder trust (CRT). That might change. New trends are making CRTs more attractive for estate planning. Taxpayers with appreciated property should take a fresh look at CRTs as part of their retirement and estate planning strategies. In a CRT, […]
Estate planning discussions often give the impression that every senior in America is married with two or more kids. We know that is not true, and those who do not fit the profile need estate planning guidance at least as much as the stereotypical couple does. Unmarried people should put a priority on developing the […]
Trustees can make or break an estate plan. That’s why a growing number of estate plans now include the directed trust, an innovative way to use multiple trustees. There are two traditional options for selecting trustees. The first option is to appoint one or more family members or friends as trustees. This approach can reduce […]
The Inheritor’s Trust is dramatically under used as an estate planning strategy, which is remarkable considering its significant benefits. Estate planning usually is done one generation at a time. The oldest members, for example, decide how they want to disburse their assets among their children and perhaps their grandchildren. Their adult children do their own […]