Estate tax, gift tax, living wills, trusts, executors, probate - the list goes on and on. Because these complex concepts are a mystery to most people, estate planning is one of the most overlooked aspects of financial planning. Reasons for this include many people thinking that they are too young to develop an estate plan, or being uncomfortable thinking about their own demise. Regardless of your age or net worth, no one can truly afford to be without an estate plan. An effective estate plan may be crucial in order to avoid losing a significant portion of your estate to taxes. In addition, a properly structured plan will ensure that your wishes are followed, that fees and administrative expenses are minimized and that your family receives the benefits of your hard work.
The basics of an estate plan include a review of your current legal documents to insure that the following have been considered:
- A valid, up-to-date, will including instructions to your executor concerning the disposition of your assets either to family, friends or charity
- A strategy for minimizing estate, gift and income taxes
- A durable power of attorney
- A guardian for minor children
- Trusts to hold financial assets or life insurance policies
- A health-care proxy or possibly a living will
We have over 40 years of experience helping people like you develop an estate plan that addresses these and other issues. They will use computer-based modeling to develop, compare and present various estate planning strategies to you in an easy to understand, graphical format. While developing the estate plan, in certain cases, we find it necessary to work with outside professionals such as attorneys or accountants. We are happy to add your existing advisors to our team, or we can recommend experienced professionals who are experts in their respective fields.
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