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A A How to create a bulletproof estate plan We've broken down this seemingly daunting task into 7 steps Published: DNY59 Creating an estate plan is a lot like getting into better shape. We all know we should do it, but most of us never make the first move because the task seems daunting.
You will have to look elsewhere for a diet and exercise plan. But if you need an estate plan, you can be sure that the seven easy steps outlined below will help you, with an assist from an attorney.
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Sign a will Photo: We all know that a will is important. You need one to ensure that your chosen heirs will get the assets that you want to leave to them. In your will, you name an executor who will have the power and responsibility to pay your debts and distribute the remainder of your estate according to your wishes.
In most states, that means that your spouse and your children will split your legacy. If you are single, your assets will go to blood relatives even if you would have preferred a friend to inherit them.
Yet only 43 percent of adults in business plan software consumer reports U. You can also use a revocable living trust to pass property to your heirs after your death. Unlike wills, living trusts avoid probate, the process by which a court determines that a will is valid.
In some states probate is costly and time-consuming. But even if you create a living trust, a will should still be the cornerstone of your estate plan if you have minor children, because you also use it to name a guardian for them. You should also safeguard the assets that you leave minor children by creating a trust for their benefit in your will.
In it you name a trustee who will follow your instructions for managing the assets that you leave to your kids. The trustee can be a relative, friend, or professional such as a banker or lawyer.
If you fail to establish a trust in your will for your minor children, a court will name a guardian to oversee the property they inherit. Name beneficiaries It is important to understand that not all of your assets will pass to your survivors through your will, because some types of property do not go through probate.
For instance, if you own a house jointly and your spouse has the right of survivorship a type of ownership that is spelled out in your house deedhe or she will get your share of the home when you die. Moreover, your kindividual retirement accounts, and life-insurance policies will pass to beneficiaries you designate in those documents.
If you work with an attorney on your estate plan, show him or her the beneficiary forms that you have filled out in the past; you might find some surprises. Hunt, an estate-planning lawyer in Alameda, Calif. Dodge estate taxes A vast majority of Americans do not have to fret about federal estate tax.
Only about one-half of 1 percent of estates will owe federal estate tax under the current law, which Congress passed on Jan. If the husband dies first and leaves everything to his wife, no estate tax is due. But you should still discuss the topic with your attorney, because 15 states and the District of Columbia impose their own estate tax, some on estates that are too small to owe the federal tax.
Leave a letter Sometimes everything you want to tell your survivors does not belong in your will. If you want to describe what type of funeral arrangements you desire, for example, you can do so in a separate letter. You can also use the letter to list items of sentimental value that you want certain heirs to inherit.
Give the letter to a trusted relative, friend, or your attorney. Some states do not recognize such letters as legal documents, but your family members and other loved ones are likely to respect your wishes.
Draw up a durable power of attorney Estate planning is not only about taking care of your survivors. A complete estate plan should also insure that your wishes regarding your money and your health care prevail even if you become too sick to make your own decisions.New Zealand's trusted source of independent consumer information.
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Replay Plastics plastics recycling business plan executive summary. Replay Plastics will open the first PET recycling plant on the west coast, turning plastic bottles into extruded sheet and strapping.