Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tips for Estate Planning

An estate is property owned by you at the time of your death including: real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, and personal property such as cars, jewelry, and art. Estate Planning ensures that your property and health care wishes are honored, and that loved ones are provided for after your death. Estate planning can include wills, trusts, and health care directives.

According to Retirement Made Simpler, in 2009, women, younger and lower-income adults were less likely than men, older and higher-income adults to say they participate in a 401k plan offered by their employers. Approximately 53% of adults feel that even if their 401k account has lost value, it is as important to continue contributing to it. Here are some tips for estate planning.

Will Preparation:
1. If no will court decides who gets your assets
2. Living spouse and children get assets and if no children next to kin gets assets
3. Identifies who will take care of children and who manages will
4. Minimizes legal and court fees
5. Laws vary by state
6. No absolute right to estate
7. Signed by 2-3 witnesses

Living Trust:
1. Maintains privacy
2. Minimize gift and estate taxes
3. Can’t have trust without a will
4. Can put conditions on how your assets are distributed after you die
5. Covers only specific assets (life insurance, property, etc.)
6. Use if you have a net worth of $100,000 or more
7. Use if you want to maximize estate tax exemptions

For more information on estate planning visit or

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