Do you own your own business? If so, you should have a plan for your business after your death or in case you become disabled. There are three documents which can help you include your company in your estate plan. Financial Power of Attorney A financial power of attorney (POA) is an instrument that allows you to name someone to control your financial assets when you are unavailable. It’s important your POA qualify as a “durable” POA. Having the POA created as a durable POA is important … [Read more...] about Estate Planning for Your Business
Asset protection is the fortification of your financial and physical assets to keep them from being taken by a creditor or to settle a lawsuit against you. If you want to protect your assets, you must plan in advance. If you anticipate a lawsuit against you, you are already too late. Asset protection is also off limits if you currently have a lawsuit in court or a creditor has a judgment against you. If you transfer an asset to a third party or another entity when you already owe a creditor … [Read more...] about How Asset Protection Can Enhance Your Estate Plan
Do you have a Revocable Living Trust? This handy document can help your estate executor and attorney easily pass property to your family members after your death. It may even help your family to avoid estate taxes and probate. Even if you have a Revocable Living Trust as your primary estate document, you still need a Last Will and Testament. The type of Will used with a Revocable Living Trust is called a Pour Over Will. What would happen if you bought a new piece of property, but you passed … [Read more...] about Do You Need a Will If You Have a Trust-Based Estate?
That, of course, all depends upon when you die, the value of your estate and who you leave your assets to. There is no estate tax for those who pass away in 2010 but it is expected to return in 2011 and, unless Congress steps in and makes changes, it will come back with a $1 million dollar exemption, considerably lower than the $3.5 million in 2009. But even if the estate tax does come back, only assets that exceed the exemption amount will be subject to the tax. If you have a modest … [Read more...] about Will My Loved Ones Have to Pay Taxes on My Estate?
Probate is a legal process that allows the court to ensure all your assets are distributed to the appropriate heirs. This can be in accordance with the terms of your Will or, if there is no Will, in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. But there are some assets, like life insurance, that don’t require probate to be distributed to your heirs. This is because your beneficiary is designated in the policy document itself so it doesn’t need a court to decide how to distribute the … [Read more...] about Is Life Insurance Part of the Probate Process?
An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is an investment account purchased directly from a financial institution, not through your employer. There are two basic types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Which one is right for you will depend upon your financial goals. A Traditional IRA allows you to contribute on a pre-tax basis, meaning that your contributions are not taxed before they’re placed into your account. Instead, taxes are applied when you make withdrawals, an ideal arrangement if … [Read more...] about How to Choose the Right IRA for You
If you’re thinking that you can protect your pets by leaving money in your Will, think again. Under the law, pets are considered property and therefore, cannot inherit. The alternative is to bequeath the money to the person you’ve designated as your pet’s caretaker. But once the money has been dispersed and the terms of the Will have been met, the estate is dissolved and the probate court is out of the picture. There’s nothing in place to ensure that the designated caregiver uses the money … [Read more...] about Why You Need A Pet Trust
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants authority to someone you choose to take action on your behalf. POAs can be used for a variety of purposes but they’re most commonly used when you need your attorney to negotiate or enter into contracts on your behalf. What makes a POA “durable” is that you intend for the authority to continue, even if you become incapacitated. The authority granted under a general POA is automatically revoked if you become mentally incapacitated or … [Read more...] about What’s the Difference Between A Power of Attorney and a Durable Power of Attorney?
If you were to pass away tomorrow, who would inherit your estate? This may sound like a trick question but the fact is, it may not be who you think. While most of us assume that our closest relatives and loved ones would inherit our assets, that’s not always the case. Old life insurance policies, pensions and retirement plans can have an ex-spouse or deceased relative as the beneficiary and since you never thought to change them, those accounts aren’t going to be distributed the way you … [Read more...] about Who Will Inherit Your Estate?
Estate planning might seem a little complicated, especially when you consider all the various forms and tools you might use. Yet, while every estate plan is different, there are some common mistakes you’ll always want to avoid: Stopping At A Will Many people believe that if they have a Will, their estate plan is complete. But this simply isn’t true. You might have a disabled dependent you need to plan for or children from more than one marriage – the point is, there are a number things … [Read more...] about Common Estate Planning Mistakes