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:
Your estate planning is part of your legacy, but your legacy should be more than financial assets, material possessions and legal documents. For more and more people, the final touch in their estate planning is what sometimes is known as an ethical will. Others have called it a legacy letter, heritage will, family philosophy statement, […]
Many of us can learn a lesson about the importance of choosing executors from the legal actions involving the estate of Prince Rogers Nelson, the late entertainer known as “Prince.” Prince was a successful musician, entertainer and record producer. He died at age 57 and left a valuable and complicated estate. He apparently left no […]
Your estate plan is much more likely to be successful when you recognize and avoid the most common mistakes and instead take some key actions. Most estate planners will tell you that the same estate planning mistakes and oversights recur with frequency, whether an estate is worth a billion dollars, a few hundred thousand dollars […]
You may already know your estate plan needs an up-to-date power of attorney (POA). But it also needs much more than that. Here are some important facts on the power of attorney for you and your heirs, in terms of both the uses and limits of the POA. For starters, here’s why you need more […]
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Your will and estate planning strategy need to be reviewed. Be sure they are ready for coming changes. A key tool in many estate planning strategies especially needs some re-working soon. Otherwise, you might be caught in a trap. The current lifetime estate and gift tax exemption is $11.58 million per person in 2020. It […]
Very slowly but surely, estate planning law is catching up to modern technology. The latest development paves the way for electronic wills in most states. An electronic will, or e-will, is one that recognizes the traditional formalities of a will when they’re in an electronic format. An e-will can be written in an electronic medium, […]
When an estate planning strategy needs updating, there’s always one key question. Should an entire will be written and executed, or is a simple amendment sufficient? An amendment to a will, in lawyer talk, is a codicil. It’s an important question, and not one to be taken lightly. There are no guidelines or restrictions in […]
Your estate plan needs an up-to-date power of attorney (POA), but it also needs more.You and your heirs need to know some things about the POA, both its uses and limits. You’ll also find that you need more than a POA for you and the estate to be protected.Bills must be paid and assets managed, […]