On the surface it could seem to the uninitiated as though the exercise of estate planning is something that may sound harder than it is. You have assets, and when you die you want ownership of them to be transferred to the people of your choosing. What is so complicated about that? The answer is that there are forces that stand in the middle of the exchange that can erode the value of your assets. One of them is the estate tax, and in 2011 the rate of this federal levy is 55%. Another one is the … [Read more...] about Avoiding Probate With Revocable Living Trusts
Wills and Trusts
Most of us are well aware of the fact that we need to have a will, but once you spell out your wishes in writing the matter is not closed. Someone is going to have to do the formidable legwork that it takes to carry out those wishes once you pass on, and this individual is referred to as the executor of the estate. So when you are working on your will, in addition to the decisions that you have to make regarding the distribution of your assets, you are also going to have to decide who you want … [Read more...] about How To Choose An Executor
Aside from enabling the distribution of assets efficiently and effectively, one of the goals of estate planning is to do what is possible to ease the stress on your loved ones upon your passing. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your death, those who care about you will be in pain at this sensitive time, and the last thing you want to do is make it worse. Things like contested wills and disagreements between loved ones concerning their perception of your final wishes are a horrible … [Read more...] about Estate Planning & Funeral Wishes
There are times when you consider hiring someone to do a job and then say to yourself, you know what, I can do this myself and save some money, and I think I'd actually enjoy it. This mentality is what keeps the parking lots of the home improvement stores buzzing on the weekends, and there is nothing wrong with rolling up your sleeves and tackling a do-it-yourself project. However, you have to pick your spots in this regard. You wouldn't want to take out your child's tonsils with instructions … [Read more...] about DIY Wills
When you pass away, there are essentially three ways your estate can be handled: The first is according to the laws of intestacy. These are state laws that dictate how assets should be distributed when the deceased dies without an estate plan. The second way is through a Will. In this instance, you get to decide who gets what and the court supervises the ordeal in a process known as probate. Probate can be very costly and time-consuming for your loved ones. It also makes the details of your … [Read more...] about What is a Living Trust?
Living Trusts can be great tools for people who wish to protect property for their heirs, delay distribution of assets to heirs, or simply avoid the costly process of probate. Unfortunately, some people draft Living Trusts and then do not properly fund them before their death, meaning the estate must undergo probate. Fortunately, there is still time for you to learn about how to properly fund your Living Trust. What is meant by ‘funding’ my Living Trust? The funding of your Living Trust … [Read more...] about How to Fund your Living Trust
Do you need a Will? That all depends upon where you’re at in your life. Someone in their early twenties for example, may not yet have a family to support nor own any major property. In this instance, a life insurance policy might be all you really need at this point. But once you start accumulating assets and building a family, a Will becomes a crucial part of your estate plan. Your Will can tell the courts how to distribute your assets, so that your brother gets your grandfather’s baseball card … [Read more...] about Do You Need A Will?
Estate planning is the process of getting your affairs in order before the unthinkable happens. Most people assume the “unthinkable” is death, but this includes incapacity as well. Think about it: if you became mentally disabled, would you and your assets be protected? Most estate plans consist of about four to five documents; the documents that you will need depend on your financial and personal situation. Will or Trust? Those that do not require a Living Trust can often use a Will as the … [Read more...] about What Makes A Good Estate Plan?