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Estate Planning Archives

Personalize your estate plan to suit your situation

Your estate plan is a personalized account of what you want to happen when you die, as well as what needs to happen if you can't make decisions. You have to think about a variety of issues when you are making your estate plan so that you can determine what to include in this plan.

Your estate plan covers more than what you might realize

If you are an adult, you need an estate plan. There really isn't any situation that would get you out of this need unless you are truly broke and have no possessions and if you don't care what happens to you if you can't make decisions for yourself. If you have children, you need an estate plan. If you have any valuables, you need an estate plan. If you have any thoughts about what you want to happen with your medical care or your finances if you can't make decisions for yourself, you need an estate plan.

Estate planning is very important if you have children

As a parent, you want your children to have a good life that is filled with stability and opportunity. You are probably doing your best to ensure that this happens. But, have you taken the time to think about what will happen to your children if something happens to you and your child's other parent? This is a scary question for many parents.

Living wills can do a lot for you in your final days

We recently discussed some of the specific things you should consider if you are going to become an organ donor. Just like with most other end-of-life decisions, you should discuss this one with your family members. We can help you to learn about what plans to make for your estate plan, as well as what your options are to ensure that your wishes are clearly conveyed.

National Donate Life Month: Considering organ donation

During estate planning, you often concentrate on external assets such as cash, real estate or family heirlooms. In the past, we've talked about the importance of considering everything you leave behind, which might include creative or intellectual assets. One other thing you have to give is yourself -- specifically, your body. April is National Donate Life Month, which is a great time to consider whether you might want to be an organ donor or not.

Giving money away now to avoid taxes later

If you know that you are going to pass away with a healthy level of assets in your estate, experts say that giving gifts to your heirs now and throughout your life can reduce the amount of tax that is levied on your estate. Federal estate taxes don't kick in until your estate is valued more than at $5.49 million, and married couples can leverage their status for an exemption that is effectively double the number for a single person.

Whom should you notify when someone dies?

The obvious answer is that you should notify family and close friends, but that's the immediate answer. Beyond that, the executor of an estate has to make numerous notifications to begin closing out accounts and transferring assets appropriately into the ownership of the estate. Notification of the death might also spur the release of payable-upon-death benefits associated with life insurance or financial accounts.