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:
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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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, […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]