The ultimate goal of estate planning is to provide for the management and transfer of your property in the event of your death or incapacity. In addition, estate planning does this with smallest financial and emotional cost to your family. A properly structured estate plan allows you to choose your beneficiaries and provide for the management of your assets. Also, it avoids probate and eliminates or reduce taxes.
Without careful planning, your property may pass to unintended beneficiaries. Likewise, the value may decrease due to unnecessary taxes or unsound investments. Finally, your investments may be without oversight or unavailable in the event of your illness or incapacity. All of these potential problems can cause financial insecurity or bitterness during your lifetime or after death.
Estate Planning Basics addresses questions. For example, who should own property and what property should be owned. Furthermore, should it be owned jointly or separately? Are trusts are needed for management, control or tax savings, and should the estate make lifetime gifts?
If you truly wish to avoid probate, drawing a will or trust is 40% of the work. Another 60% is examining all of your assets to decide the best way to transfer it without probate. A Will is NOT a panacea for all estate situations. In fact, generally speaking, it’s a very inefficient way to pass your personal property .
Almost everyone is in need of all of the above. Professional advice is necessary to customize the planning to the individual to accomplish their objectives.
This booklet reviews the basics of estate planning and should help you to assess whether your current plan adequately provides for your family.
Reprinted by permission, Robert D. Hinshaw, Attorney at Law 185 Kimel Park Dr, Winston- Salem, NC 27103 (336) 760-2000.