Estate Planning Checkup

Whether for you or your parents, estate planning is very important to financial health. Your will is not enough to make sure everything is distributed the way that it needs to be when you pass away. If you do not plan your estate, what your family may find is what happens to your wealth in the event of your death is much different than what they ever expected.

The surprise lies in estate tax laws, as well as gift laws and they tend to have a negative effect on estate plans. This is usually due to the taxes being higher and the distribution of assets not being as intended. What this results in is disputes between your family and various officials and this can leave your family with bad feelings.

The Checkup

During your lifetime, tax laws are going to consistently change. They can change every year or every few years. Because of this, you will need to make sure that your estate is in order in a way that will comply with the tax laws and not leave your family in a bad situation. Interest rates even have an effect because the interest rate may be lower now, but could be higher later and this would result in a higher tax rate.

There is what is called the "federal estate tax exclusion" and what this means is that there is a certain amount within an estate that is excluded from having to have estate tax paid on it. This amount does change often and individuals are always looking for strategies. Luckily there is a strategy you can use.

If you need assistance, then you can use the services of a personal financial advisor. This is recommended because you want to have someone who can advise you of the estate tax laws when they change. Although your estate may be fine this year doesn't mean it will be next year.

By choosing a financial advisor, you are able to ensure that you are within the confines of the law. This helps you guarantee that your estate is going to be in sound condition. By being in sound condition, issues can be avoided.

Estate and Trust

Many individuals take a look at the federal estate tax exclusion and ensure that they don't have too much within their estate. They transfer the rest to a trust so that estate taxes do not become an issue. But if the federal estate tax exclusion amount were to drop to an amount that makes the dollar amount of the estate too much, there is going to be money lost to taxes anyway.

If this happens to you, you want to make changes to make sure the difference goes into a trust. That way your family gets what they expect to get and not an amount that is different. This is especially true when you are distributing assets to a number of family members. If the estate amount is compromised too much, this could end in certain family members being exclude.

If certain family members are excluded from receiving assets, this could cause family disputes. These disputes usually do not end well, as they ultimately battle out the estate in court. When this occurs, the estate is completely locked up to where no one receives anything. The funds and assets will not be released until the dispute is resolved.

So the last thing you want to happen is an estate dispute because all of a sudden there is not enough money or assets available to satisfy all involved. When family expects to get something, they want it. You can make sure it happens with a timely estate planning checkup.

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