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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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All the Ways You Can Avoid Probate (Part 2)

March 6, 2022

In our last edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I shared some estate planning tips on how to avoid probate. Let’s look at some more ways today… A transfer on death provision (TOD) is another approach to avoid probate. Most financial institutions now have transfer on death provisions in their new account applications and allow the […]

estate planning

All the Ways To Legally Avoid Probate: Estate Planning Pro Tip

February 27, 2022

Avoiding probate is often a major estate planning goal, but most people don’t learn all the strategies available. In probate, a deceased person’s estate is administered and distributed according to state and local law. The process ensures debts are paid and legal title to assets passes as the decedent wanted, or according to state law […]

How and When to Use Reverse Estate Planning Strategies

January 25, 2022

Most estate planning discussions assume assets flow in only one direction, from the older generation to younger generations. That focus neglects some opportunities to increase family after-tax wealth. It is not unusual for adult children to help care for their parents or at least have more wealth than their parents. If the parents won’t use […]

All the Ways You Can Avoid Probate

January 25, 2022

Avoiding probate often is a major estate planning goal, but most people don’t learn all the strategies available. In probate, a deceased person’s estate is administered and distributed according to state and local law. The process ensures debts are paid and legal title to assets passes as the decedent wanted, or according to state law […]

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estate planning

7 Reasons Life Insurance Should Be in Your Estate Plan

January 23, 2022

Life insurance used to be an essential element of most estate plans, but it hasn’t been for about 20 years. Important changes, however, make it time for many people to give serious thought to including life insurance in their estate plans. In this article, I’m talking about permanent life insurance, not term life insurance. There’s […]

estate planning

Making the Best Use of Home Equity in Retirement, Part II

January 16, 2022

In last week’s edition of Retirement Watch Weekly, I shared some tips on how to put your home to work for you before and during retirement. Today, we’ll complete the list… Another strategy to consider for your retirement plan – and it’s one that is often very misunderstood – is a reverse mortgage. Also known […]

7 Reasons to Consider Returning Life Insurance to Estate Plans

December 21, 2021

Life insurance used to be an essential element of most estate plans, but it hasn’t been for about 20 years. Important changes, however, make it time for many people to give serious thought to including life insurance in their plans. I n this article, I’m talking about permanent life insurance, not term life insurance. There’s […]

Why You Need a Living Trust & How To Maximize its Benefits

December 12, 2021

Each year, I become more impressed by the importance of having a living trust as a key element of an estate plan and of properly setting up the trust. A living trust has two significant benefits. The first benefit is that assets owned by the trust avoid probate. Probate is a process under state law […]

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