What Estate Planning Decisions Must I Make?

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Estate planning is multifaceted.

Things are almost never as simple as they look.

Professionals spend decades training to perfect their skills whether they perform surgery or stenography.

Watch to the end of the film credits of your favorite movie and see the vast number of individuals and skill sets required to produce a finished product.

According to a recent Forbes article titled “A Love Letter to Your Heirs,” many people mistakenly believe estate planning can be done alone or avoided completely.

Estate planning should not be delayed.
Delaying estate planning could cost you and your loved ones dearly.

Either of these options could have devastating consequences for you and your loved ones.

Your best option is to create an estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney now.

To start, you should envision the future you would like for yourself and your loved ones.

Who do you want to inherit from your estate?

Is including beloved charities in your estate plan a priority?

Answering these questions will help you define and outline how you would like your assets distributed.

Although you can certainly adjust your estate plan in the future when life circumstances or federal or state laws change, you should not wait to begin your estate planning.

Mitigating or eliminating taxes may be a significant estate planning concern for you and your loved ones.

Not all assets will be treated the same for tax purposes for both your estate and your heirs.

Another complication for many is the distribution of treasured heirlooms.

Allocating each specifically to heirs can be an effective strategy.

Some people choose to allocate money from the estate and let heirs use these funds to bid on desired items.

Jointly held assets are relatively simple when it comes to estate planning.

By their nature, the surviving owner will inherit the asset directly when the other owner dies.

However, probate will be the consequence when the surviving owner dies, unless a beneficiary has been duly designated.

Beneficiary designations also supersede allocation instructions in a last will and testament.

Life insurance proceeds, IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, pension plans, and profit-sharing plans are examples of assets with beneficiary designations.

Estate planning should also take into consideration outstanding debts or assets subject to a lien.

Whether you are single or married, estate planning allows you to leave your assets to loved ones or charitable organizations both efficiently and effectively.

Reference: Forbes (Jan. 10, 2022) “A Love Letter to Your Heirs”

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