Estate planning allows an individual to plan for his or her lifetime objectives and to provide direction about the disposition of his or her assets after death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts as well as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Estate planning is impacted by state and federal law, and any individual may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for his or her situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs), and limited liability companies (LLCs). An estate planning lawyer can be an essential ally in assuring that your estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call our firm today to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.
Estate planning covers the transfer of property at death. Estate planning often includes tax planning, and can include other personal matters. It is advisable for every adult to consult a qualified attorney regarding an estate plan – because only a qualified attorney can interpret all of the laws bearing on property rights, taxes, wills, probate, and trusts. Without a written plan in place you and your heirs may be likely to encounter a variety problems and inconveniences upon your incapacity or death.
Estate planning is essential for all adults, not just those who are wealthy. Issues such as child guardianship and health care directives apply to everyone, including families of modest means. By establishing a written plan, your wishes and needs will be carried out exactly as you desire
Estate planning can include professionals in addition to your attorney such as your accountant, financial planner, life insurance advisor, banker and broker Certified public accountants, life insurance salespersons, bank trust officers, financial planners, personnel managers and pension consultants often share in the estate planning process.
Married people are frequently able to save on estate taxes by having an estate plan. This is so because a married couple can take advantage of both the unlimited marital deduction, paying no estate tax when the first spouse dies, as well as each spouse’s personal exclusion amount, which totals $4 million for a married couple, to minimize their estate taxes when the second spouse dies. This can only be accomplished with a trust, whether inter vivos (during life) or testamentary (in a will).
If your estate is substantially above the personal exclusion amount ($2 million) estate planning is crucial. There are lots of different ways to reduce the size of your estate while you are alive. You could start a gifting program, whereby you make annual gifts to children and grandchildren of the annual gift tax exclusion amount ($12,000 this year) in order to systematically reduce the size of your estate and get your assets to the people you want to have them anyway.
Your gifting program may also include charitable gifts of any size, which have the added bonus of being income tax-deductible. Gifts to charity can also be made by way of a trust in such a way that either you can use the gift during your lifetime and it goes to the charity on your death, or the charity can use the gift during your lifetime and it goes to your beneficiaries on your death.
Estate planning can include wills and trusts, as well as powers of attorney and other documents. Both state and federal law impact estate planning, and some may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary to achieve their desired outcomes. Some of these more complex techniques include family limited partnerships (FLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs). Estate tax and other estate-related issues are hot legislative items. That’s why a competent and experienced estate planning lawyer is an essential ally in assuring that your unique estate planning goals are understood and carried out.