Friday, December 11, 2009

Estate Planning Facts

By Shawn Chandok

1. No matter how wealthy you are, it is crucial to have an estate plan.
2. An estate plan isn’t only a will, but has several other elements as well. Examples include, the power of an attorney who will execute your will, trusts that help you avoid taxes to your heirs and a health care proxy who will have medical power in case you are unable to do so for yourself
3. Including ALL of your assets: Make sure you include all your assets in your estate plan such as investments (mutual funds, stocks), real estate (in state & out of state), and insurance policies (life insurance beneficiaries).
4. The Will: Everyone needs a will. A will designates your beneficiary and/or guardians. Furthermore, a will avoids you from dying intestate or without a will whereby your assets can be drained by the government or almost anyone who puts a claim on them and battles in court.
5. Trusts aren’t only for the rich: Trusts enable EVERYONE to give gifts to relatives’ tax free while providing privacy and sometimes protection from courts.
6. Don’t leave all your wealth with your spouse: Although you can leave all your of wealth to your spouse tax free, this isn’t necessarily a good idea because when your spouse dies, your children will have to pay more in taxes if he/she leaves it to them.
7. Charity: Making charitable donations reduces your current taxable income by the present value of your future donation.



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