Estate Planning Introduction
Estate planning is creating a
portfolio of legal documents which accomplishes a variety of goals.
The specific goals of your estate plan should be unique to your
circumstances, taking into account your assets, family situation,
and requirements for the future.
Estate planning is more than just
making a plan to distribute certain assets to certain people. A
complete estate plan will allow you to retain control of your assets
and to determine who will make decisions on your behalf should you
become unable to in the future.
Advance planning, good advice, and
proper assembly of important documents will all ensure that your
estate is handled as easily as possible. The following issues should
be considered when developing a thorough estate plan:
- Asset protection
- Probate avoidance
- Avoidance, minimization and
deferral of tax liabilities
- Planning for illness or
- Selection of guardians, personal
representatives and other fiduciaries
- Formation of family limited
partnerships and other business entities
- Succession strategies for family
A good estate plan should take into
account both your personal and financial goals. For example, some
families may need a trust to manage and distribute assets to minor
Many families are surprised to
learn that their net worth, including assets and life insurance
proceeds, makes estate planning a paramount concern.
All assets of any value should be
considered when developing an estate plan, including real estate,
business and farm interests, investments, retirement plans, life
insurance proceeds, personal property, art or other collections,
cash and personal effects.
Your estate plan will be formulated
by taking into consideration the fair market value of your assets,
how you own them legally (whether you hold them separately, as a
joint tenant with rights of survivorship or as a tenant in common),
their growth potential, their liquidity, and what assets should be
passed to specific individuals.
Your estate plan will provide you
with the comfort of knowing that your wishes will be carried out
should anything happen to you in the future. This benefits not only
you, but also your family members, who otherwise may face the burden
of making choices for you without your input.
Preparation for the Estate
Most attorneys have their own
"intake form" or form that they want you to fill out to
make sure that you have all your assets and liabilities of your
estate covered. If so, be sure to follow that form
If you don't have one, or would
like to start some preliminary work, we have provided a
comprehensive form that will allow you to answer most questions that
your attorney will have and assemble your documents. Click
here to load the SeniorMag Estate Planning form. You
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