What is estate planning?
Estate planning is an essential tool for transferring a person’s wealth and assets after his or her death. This can include real estate, life insurance, pensions, property, a business, personal belongings, and debts.
Why is estate planning important?
Effective estate planning creates the smallest possible tax burden for the people who inherit assets, ensuring that unexpected costs don’t thwart your wishes. Even with just a little bit of planning, couples can reduce or eliminate federal and state estate taxes and state inheritance taxes.
What are the benefits of estate planning?
An estate plan assures that your home, finances, and other assets can provide for your family, even after you are gone. That’s why everyone, regardless of how much they’re able to leave for their family, can benefit from estate planning.
What is the difference between estate planning and a will?
Estate Planning allows for the proper and desired asset transfer at death, minimization of estate taxes, and avoidance of probate. A will is a legal instrument used in estate planning that is a set of instructions for probate.
What are the differences between a will and a trust?
While wills and trusts are both used to pass assets on to beneficiaries, there are distinct differences:
What does an estate planning attorney do?
An attorney who specializes in estate planning knows the myriad ins and outs of tax and estate laws. He or she can draft living trusts, help you minimize or avoid estate taxes, and work alongside your financial advisor to ensure that everything you worked your whole life to leave to your family is safe from creditors.
What are the benefits of having a will?
A will is a legal document detailing how you would like to disburse property to heirs after your death. Without a will, the disbursements will be made according to state law and might not be according to what you would want. In a will, you can name the person who will manage and settle your estate (also called an executor). If you have not named an executor, the court will appoint someone. If you have minor children or dependents, a will enables you to name a legal guardian. And like an executor, if you do not appoint a guardian, the state will appoint one for you.
If you have a will, it is essential to update your will periodically as your life circumstances change. Also, since a will is a legal document, it should be well-written with your wishes articulated and executed correctly under your state’s laws, as courts will be reluctant to overturn provisions within it.