Does Your Estate Plan Need Revisions in 2015?

Now that we have settled into the new year, you may be honoring the resolutions that you made. People also tend to matters that have been placed on the back burner when the calendar turns over, and this can apply to estate plan revisions. When you put your initial estate plan in place, it is going to be constructed based on the way that things were at that time. Your own life situation is going to be a big part of it, and there are also laws that are applicable to everyone that could enter into the equation. Estate planning is not something that is necessarily going to be completed in one sitting. It is an ongoing process, and your estate plan will need revisions when certain things take place within your life Changes in marital status would result in the need for estate plan revisions, and additions and subtractions to the family could also be a factor. Plus, your intentions can change with regard to the way that you want your assets to be distributed after you pass away. In addition


Can I Just Download Estate Planning Documents Off the Internet?

There are a lot of different forms that you can download off the Internet these days. In some cases, the DIY approach can be perfectly useful. However, when it comes to estate planning documents, you may want to take pause. Indeed, there are websites on the Internet that sell legal documents, and their offerings extend into the realm of estate planning. Their marketing material would have you believe that it is easy to create your own estate planning documents. In fairness, a document is just that, a document. It is perfectly legal for you to create your own estate planning documents using boilerplate templates that you purchase on the Internet. However, are you sure that you know what document or documents you should utilize given your family situation? For example, you may assume that you should use a last will to facilitate postmortem asset transfers. This can work for some people, but for others, it would not be the best choice. If you are looking for asset protection, a last will

When Does a Living Trust Terminate?

The revocable living trust is a widely utilized estate planning device. When you hear about the advantages that these trusts can provide, you may come to the conclusion that you may want to use a living trust instead of a last will. You have more flexibility when you use a revocable living trust, because you can stipulate terms when you create the trust agreement. Because of this, you can leave instructions that the trustee must follow, and you have the ability to allow for partial distributions on a long-term basis. While you are living, you continue to control the trust, so you still have access to the resources. You even have the power to revoke the trust if this is your choice. If you were to use a will instead of a trust, the will would be admitted to probate after your passing. This is a legal process that provides oversight, but it can be time-consuming and expensive. When a living trust has been established, the trustee can distribute assets in a timely and efficient manner ou

How Do Individual Retirement Accounts Work?

When you are planning ahead for the future, you should account for every phase of your life. You want to make sure that you are financially comfortable during your active retirement years, and you should also consider the twilight years that will follow. Ideally, you will have a suitable financial legacy to leave behind to your loved ones after you pass away. Retirement can be partially funded by an individual retirement account. There are two different types of individual retirement accounts that are widely utilized: traditional individual retirement accounts, and Roth IRAs. Let s look at the differences between these two accounts. Traditional IRAs When you have a traditional individual retirement account, the contributions are made before you pay taxes on the income. As a result, you are saving money while you are lowering your taxable income, so there is a dual positive. You cannot make penalty-free withdrawals from the account until you are 59.5 years old. It would be possible to

Is Incapacity Planning Really Important?

Estate planning is often thought of as a purely financial endeavor. Without question, you must facilitate smooth and efficient asset transfers when you are planning your estate. However, incapacity planning is also an important piece of the puzzle. Why would you have any reason to believe that you will ever become incapacitated? This is not a very pleasant subject to contemplate, but when you know the facts, you can see why incapacity planning is important. Alzheimer s Disease There are various different causes of incapacity, and some of them are purely physical. Late in your life you may become unable to communicate, and short of this you may not be able to get around very well. This is one type of incapacity that can strike. There is also the matter of mental incapacity. Alzheimer s disease is a very big threat to elder Americans. If you want to learn about Alzheimer s disease, you may want to visit the Alzheimer s Association website. This website provides a great deal of good info

Can a Trust Provide Estate Tax Efficiency?

Estate tax efficiency is very important for some people. There is an estate tax on the federal level, and it can have a significant impact on your financial legacy. This tax carries a 40 percent maximum rate, so we are talking about a noticeable bite. At the time of this writing in 2014, the estate tax exclusion is $5.34 million. The first $5.34 million that you transfer to people other than your spouse can be transferred tax-free. There is an unlimited marital estate tax deduction. This allows you to leave any amount of money to your spouse free of the estate tax. You would be using a portion of your $5.34 million exclusion to leave tax-free bequests to people other than your spouse. Trusts and Estate Tax Efficiency There are different types of trusts that are used in the field of estate planning. Some trusts are useful for people who want to gain estate tax efficiency, and some are not. Revocable living trusts are very widely utilized by a wide range people. These trusts facilitate

Can a Trust Provide Medicaid Asset Protection?

Estate planning is a diverse endeavor. What is ideal for one person may not suit the next, and this is something that you should understand when you are planning your estate. You have many different options, and the ideal course of action will vary on a case-by-case basis. With the above in mind, there are a number of different types of trusts that can be utilized. The right choice will depend upon your objectives. The basic distinction between trusts is the matter of revocation rights. Revocable living trusts are very popular, because they facilitate efficient asset transfers, but you do not lose control of the assets while you are living. You can initially act as the trustee and the beneficiary, so you control the actions of the trust while you are alive and well. When you create the trust, you create a trust agreement. In this agreement you name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you die, and you also name successor beneficiaries. After your passing, the successor tr