The purpose of estate planning is to enhance and maintain the financial security of you and your family. It includes lifetime financial planning that may lead to increasing your net worth as well as conserving your existing assets. It should also facilitate the intended and orderly disposition of your property at death.
Most people are familiar with the concept of a will. A will is always executed through probate court, but it provides written directions for the executor of your estate to distribute your assets to specified beneficiaries upon death. Wills are a matter of public record upon your death; anyone can view it to see what you left to who. For example, you can view Elvis Presley’s will.
It’s clear to me after reading Elvis Presley’s will that he didn’t do much estate planning beyond his will. It includes broad powers with some good general catch all provisions including a trust, but no specific directions were given to handle tax planning. Tax laws have only become more complicated since his death as the Internal Revenue Code was rewritten in 1986 and we’re decades beyond that now. Estate tax planning affords us the opportunity to maximize the value of your estate, even if you only have 401(k) or IRA accounts!
If you don’t have an executed will, state intestacy laws will determine the distribution of your assets and probate costs will consume its value. Your estate is also susceptible to family infighting, excess legal fees, mismanagement, etc. without a proper will. Anna Nicole Smith’s claim against her deceased husband’s estate is a prime example of how a lapse in maintaining a current and compliant will can cause adverse consequences.
Please contact me for a free consultation and review of your estate plan!
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Page Last Updated 02/28/2021