An estate plan aims to preserve the maximum amount of wealth possible for the intended beneficiaries and flexibility for the individual before death. Estate planning is the preparation of tasks that serve to manage a person's asset base in the event of disability or death. Planning includes the bequest of assets to the heirs and the settlement of estate taxes. Most estate plans are established with the help of an experienced probate lawyer.
Estate planning is the process of designating who will receive your assets in the event of death or disability. Often done with the guidance of an attorney, one goal is to ensure that heirs and beneficiaries receive assets in a way that manages and minimizes estate taxes, gift taxes and other tax impacts. Estate planning is the series of preparedness tasks that dictate how your assets will be dispersed in the event of disability or death. In a nutshell, estate planning means choosing heirs for your estate.
A comprehensive estate plan can resolve many legal issues that may arise as you age and your health situation changes. The estate planning process can be complicated, but FindLaw's goal is to allow you to make decisions with confidence. For example, you can give away parts of your estate to your family ahead of time instead of waiting to die to give it all away. You can get an affordable, legal, effective and valid Estate Plan that ensures that your wishes are known should the time come when it's needed.
Wills are a common estate planning tool and are generally the simplest device for planning the distribution of an estate. Even if you don't have a lot of assets, your Estate Plan is a guarantee that everyone will know what your wishes are. Yes, there are many steps you need to follow to create a complete estate plan, but we've made it as easy as possible by listing each of them. Having an estate plan for when you die is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones.
DIY estate planning, with the help of estate planning software or websites, is an option for simpler estates. As with other estate planning documents, you must keep your named beneficiary designations up to date. If a revocable living trust is used as part of an estate plan, the key to avoiding succession is to ensure that the living trust is funded for the life of the person establishing the trust. Lack of proper estate planning can cause undue financial burdens on loved ones (estate taxes can reach up to 40%), so at a minimum, a will must be established even if the taxable estate is not large.
Ideally, your financial advisor and attorney will work hand in hand to ensure that you are making the best estate planning decisions for your situation and that you have your assets in order. Assets that could constitute a person's estate include houses, cars, stocks, works of art, life insurance, pensions, and debts. To establish the taxable value of the estate, you must find the total value of the estate and subtract the debts you owe. Donations reduce the financial size of the estate, since they are excluded from taxable wealth, which reduces the wealth tax bill.