If you’re like most people, you’ve probably delegated estate planning to the realm of things to be done “someday.” Most people dislike confronting their own mortality, but proper estate planning accomplishes two major objectives — it ensures that your wealth is distributed according to your wishes and it can reduce the payment of federal and state estate taxes.
By formally planning your estate, you will review many different areas, such as:
- Is your will up to date and does it dispose of your assets in the most efficient manner?
- Have you made proper provisions for minor children, including naming guardians and providing for their support?
- Should you consider a living trust to prevent your assets from going through probate?
- Are you distributing your assets in the most tax-efficient way possible? Should all of your assets be distributed to your spouse?
- Are there other types of trusts that are appropriate for your situation?
- Should you have a formal gift-giving program so that you take advantage of the ability to make annual gifts to any number of individuals without paying taxes?