Why engage in estate planning ? To provide for your lives today and secure your futures for tomorrow.
If you own property or money you have an “estate”. While the government may have something to say about what you may do with your property, no other person can tell you what to do with it, i.e. to sell it, to keep it, to give it away.
The person who can best decide what to do with your estate is you. You best understand what risks are acceptable, what protections should be afforded, how much to save, how much to set aside for retirement, how much to pass on and to whom.
This is not a matter of wealth – it is a matter of passing along your hard earned assets, whatever the size, to those you choose.
Estate planning usually focuses upon the disposition of your assets upon your death, but it also involves planning for your lifetime needs and focuses upon your care if you become unable to manage your own affairs during your lifetime. There are many considerations – some strictly monetary, while others are personal and emotional – they have to do with your goals and values.
Some objectives of estate planning include:
∙ Assuring the transfer of your assets to your designated beneficiaries
∙ Reduce federal estate and gift taxes and generation-skipping taxes
∙ Minimize probate administration costs such as attorneys’ fees, court costs
There are a variety of tools that can be used to attain your estate planning goals. These include:
∙ Different ownerships of assets and real property including joint ownerships
∙ Beneficiary designations
∙ Powers of attorney
∙ Irrevocable trusts
∙ Revocable (Living) Trusts
∙ Living Wills (Patient Advocate Powers)
In the process of planning, I assist my clients in exploring all of the options available – I guide them through the maze of legal and financial decisions and the personal and emotional ones. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, and each has a legal and financial implication and a tax consequence. Cutting these costs, or at least being aware of the toll they exact, is the reason for estate planning.
It will benefit you and those important to you, to take the time now to explore concerns impacting the acquisition and preservation of your assets.