Estate Planning

What Is It and Do You Have It Done?

Estate planning is putting together a plan to distribute all of your assets to your heirs in a cost and time efficient way. Who are the people you want to get all of your stuff when you die? What do you want each person to get? When do you want them to get it? Are there any specific gifts you want to make? Do you want to give anything to charity? Should you use a Will or a Living Trust?

Some Issues To Consider

Some common issues folks consider when doing their estate plan in addition to those listed in the previous paragraph are estate taxes, probate avoidance, income taxes, asset protection and fees to settle the estate. If your estate is large enough, there may be estate taxes to pay. If not, almost everyone has some type of retirement account and there will be income taxes to pay. If you own assets titled in your name there may be a probate.

Control Is a Key Word

There are strategies available to address all of these issues. Control is a key word in estate planning. You can control later what happens by planning now. Many times when there is no planning done now it turns out to be a mess later. Who wants it to be a big mess and hassle for their children or other heirs? Most do not. The key is avoiding procrastination (itís human nature and we all do it) and getting the planning completed.

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