You are about to start your estate planning process, which is great, but even if you have a Will or Trust set up, there are major errors most individuals make during the estate planning process that can cost them (or their heirs) greatly in the end.
Any time you are looking for solid and unbiased consumer information you know that you can find it in Consumer Reports magazine. The folks there do a fine job of analyzing products and services in a very fair and balanced way. They then pass along their findings to the public so that we can proceed with a foundation of useful information before parting with any of our hard-earned money.
It is possible to will one's IRA to a family member or other chosen beneficiary. On receiving the IRA, the beneficiary is able to make withdrawals right away, but there are considerable tax implications for doing so. In fact, those who take money out of an IRA they have inherited will face similar tax issues to those they would face for taking money from their own retirement accounts.
As with all professional services, there are fees associated with creating a trust-based estate plan. Many people with assets will have to use a more comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust. This is because a trust will protect the individual's assets, prevent excessive estate tax and offer a wide variety of strategies for distributing the estate.
A lot of people have questions about taxes on insurance proceeds. If you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy you would not be asked to pay Federal income tax on this influx of financial resources. However, this does not mean that there is no cause for concern with regard to taxation as it applies to insurance policies.
When you sit down to discuss your estate with an estate planning lawyer you should be prepared to share all of the relevant details. If you leave out anything important your estate can wind up being quite tangled after you pass away, and the primary purpose behind making preparations is to enable smooth asset transfers when the appropriate time arrives.
Estate planning and retirement planning are naturally connected. If you have particular ideas in mind with regard to what you want to be able to do for your family after you pass away these intentions could impact your retirement budget. Clearly, you can't provide inheritances if there is nothing left after you pass away.
Alzheimer's disease is more common than a lot of people may think. The Alzheimer's Association does a lot of great work with regard to research and education, and they tell us that somewhere in the vicinity of 40% of the oldest old are suffering from this disease.
Acute intoxication was listed as the cause of death when the artist Thomas Kinkade passed away recently at the age of 54. Kinkade was very successful financially and it is estimated that the value of his estate when he died was somewhere in the vicinity of $65 million.
As you are weighing your options with regard to estate planning vehicles you would do well to consider the advantages of revocable living trusts.