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:
There’s a big down-side to the boom in stocks and other financial assets. When the value of the assets you own goes up, so do potential estate and gift taxes. If you don’t take action, the IRS could end up with more of your estate than your loved ones. One easy way to handle the […]
Not everyone who puts together an estate plan is married. In fact, more and more estates are those of single people. A single person has Estate Planning considerations different from those of a married couple and actually might require more planning. Because the unique planning concerns of singles rarely are discussed, singles often make key […]
You can leave your heirs the gift of almost perpetual tax free growth. That’s not a small gift, and it is one your heirs are likely to appreciate as each year passes. It is easy to do, thanks to Congress, and it won’t cost you much. The vehicle you use to set up this tax-free […]
You’ve probably seen the promotions for those tax-free “investments” that give a 10 to 1 return on your money. When you get past the initial pitch, you find that the investment is a life insurance policy that pays off for your heirs, not you. As part of the promotions, you’ll learn that the best way […]
Estate planning doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal full of words and concepts that only lawyers understand. For most married couples, there are two tools that are part of almost every estate plan and three trusts from which to choose one or more. They are the foundation of every estate plan. There are other […]
You need an estate plan, and this is the time of year when many people consider finally drawing up or revising their plans. An estate plan should be tailored for the individual. Contrary to what you’ll hear in some estate planning seminars, there aren’t many strategies that should be in every estate plan. But there […]
Most of you would like to set up a nice legacy for your grandchildren. You want a nice sum of money to be available when a grandchild really needs it – for college education, a first car, a first house, or even to start a retirement fund. But since you can’t afford to put a […]
At year end, many people focus on estate planning and charitable giving. But don’t simply write a check or leave a sum of money to charity in your will. There are better ways to give that can increase your tax deductions or even your income, and they also can give you more control over how […]