You have worked a lifetime to save and accumulate. Now, you are planning to determine how that estate will be distributed among the important people and charities in your life. What should you know about this important process so all goes according to plan?
A recent Forbes article, titled "Estate Planning 101: Picking Your Heirs," provides some very useful instructions on basic estate planning. The article lists a series of questions that can help you organize your thoughts and prioritize your planning.
The questions include:
- How do you feel about charities? Will you leave something now via trust or in your will?
- Will you give each of your children an equal share of your estate, or will you divide it based on some other factors?
- Do you plan to make some gifts or bequests now while you are still around? Are your assets significant enough to think about getting them out of your taxable estate now to reduce the estate and gift tax bill for your heirs?
- What are you going to do with gifts like artwork, jewelry or furniture? Do some of these have sentimental value to particular heirs?
- How do you plan to tell your heirs about your wishes for your estate?
The original article asks several more questions worthy of consideration. It also notes that while you may control what and how you give, you are not able to dictate how the recipients react, how they will use those assets, or even how they will treat each other.
Answering these tough questions regarding the disposition of your assets can be stressful. Take it slow and get some help.
Before committing ink to paper, consult an experienced estate planning attorney.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Forbes (September 24, 2014) "Estate Planning 101: Picking Your Heirs"