WHEN IT COMES TO ESTATE PLANNING: KNOW YOUR ABCS
Estate Questions and Answers
Estate planning is one of those steps in life everyone feels they “should” get a head start on, but few people get around to it. Part of the problem is that many folks don’t know where to begin and what factors to consider. Estate planning law can be a maze, so our estate planning professionals have broken down the basic ABCs for crafting a plan that ensures your last wishes are met.
When do you need a will? To ensure your estate wishes are carried out, you need to have a clear written record of your wishes. This is why a will is the basis of all estate plans. Ensuring that your wishes are well-documented, precise, and thorough will guarantee that your beneficiaries receive what you intend. This key stage in the process is where having an estate planning professional on your side can make all the difference. They will listen to your goals, help you plan, and ask questions you may not have known to consider.
For instance, would your minor children or grandchildren be able to manage an inheritance? Would you want your children’s spouses included in your estate? If your estate was affected by a divorce or the death of a child, how might your wishes for the distribution of your assets change? Having a clear answer to these delicate questions, archived in writing, is essential to create a strong will.
Of course, you can’t plan your estate without knowing whom it is going to pass to. You should name the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your insurance policies, retirement accounts, and any other assets. Contingent beneficiaries should be set up in the event of any complications. Most importantly, you need to name an executor to oversee the fulfillment of these wishes.
Once the basic outline of your will is in place, you need to calculate the possible impact of estate taxes on your assets. Depending on the dollar value of your assets and your relationship to the beneficiaries, taxes can impact your estate plan. Certain tools can be used to fund the payment of estate taxes, such as life insurance policies and trusts. To find the option that suits your estate and your will, it’s best to seek the guidance of a qualified tax and legal professional. Call us today to get answers to your estate planning questions.