Preparing Your Estate Plan | Estate Plan Pros

Your Estate Plan Roadmap

Going through the estate planning process can seem overwhelming.  What you need is a roadmap to take you from the start to finish.  This post gives you the high-level overview you need before diving into the details. Grasp the Urgency In order to better grasp its real urgency take a close look at the price of failing to plan. In today’s world of blended families, it is very easy for...

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The Three Essential Questions Your Estate Plan Should Answer

Creating an estate plan is a partnership between you and your estate planning attorney. Like a good architect designing a bridge, your estate planning attorney will design the structure but you decide its ultimate purpose and usefulness. Determining the answer to these three critical questions form the foundation on which the attorney will design your estate plan. What do you own?  For most...

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Avoiding Estate Taxes – The Easy Way

You could spend all your money first, then there wouldn’t be any estate tax to worry about would there? However, that is not the easy way I’m going to share with you. Most people are aware that the current estate exemption amount of $5.34 million for 2014 with a top tax rate of 40%. The exemption amount is scheduled to be adjusted for inflation on an ongoing basis. Over the past ten years the...

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Surprising Options Parents Have Over How Their Children Can Inherit

To give them the money, or not give them the money, that is the question most parents ask themselves.  But few people are aware that a competent estate planning attorney can open a world of options.  On the other hand, giving money directly to beneficiaries can leave them a world of problems. Young Beneficiaries Few people are prepared to handle a sudden influx of a large pile of cash, let alone...

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Failing To Plan For Disability

Many people, including some estate planners unfortunately, fall into the trap of thinking that estate planning is for after you pass away. The reality is that becoming disabled can be more expensive than all the probate fees and estate taxes combined. Depending on where you go for your statistics, your odds of becoming disabled could be as high as 50%. But whatever number it is, the financial...

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What Is The Difference BetweenA Will And A Trust?

Most people are familiar with the idea of a will, but there is a lot of confusion about living trusts.  Part of that confusion is because there are many different types of trusts.  Despite that confusion, trusts are increasing in popularity.  Most people find that living trusts are a superior solution in reducing costs and simplifying the process of administrating an estate. How a Will and Trust...

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Cracking the Golden Egg – Inherited IRA’s are Exposed to Creditors, Unless…

On Friday, June 13, the Supreme Court resolved any doubt regarding whether an IRA continued to have creditor protection after it was passed down to children – there isn’t any protection.  Creditors now have a clear ‘green light’ to go after beneficiaries of an inherited IRA said the court in Clark v. Ramiker. Recent rules have made inherited IRA’s a powerful tool for passing on wealth....

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Is a DIY Will Like DIY Dentistry?

There is a common misperception misconception that if you have a will, you’re covered.  And the marketplace feeds this notion promising cheap and easy documents you can make yourself.  After all, lawyers are expensive, and who doesn’t like saving money?  When I see these advertisements for DIY estate planning documents, the image I see in my head is poor Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway trying to...

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Seven Simple Things Everyone Should Know About Living Trusts

1. They’re Not Just for the Rich Trusts are very handy for avoiding probate, a time consuming and expensive process.  In contrast, wills do not avoid probate.  An estate with a gross value of $150,000 or more has to go through probate in California (other states have different rules).  That means pretty much any California homeowner’s estate will have to go through probate unless...

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Eight Keys to Estate Planning Success

My parents taught me to leave things better than when I found them.  That rule applied to everything from my room to the campsite at which we had spent our vacation.  So it’s understandable that I’m passionate about leaving an estate that is organized, that eliminates needless expenses and delays, and reduces the potential for conflict between surviving family members. The following are eight...

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