Charitable bequests are a common part of estate planning. But before you decide to leave money to an organization either be a bequest in your Will or a Charitable Remainder Trust, it's important to do your homework and make sure your favorite "charity" is really a legal charity. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes public charities and private foundations. Your estate can deduct the value of contributions to either type of organization on any federal or state estate tax return that is due. … [Read more...] about Checking Out Charitable Beneficiaries
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Did you know that your retirement account avoids probate? Since there is a beneficiary form associated with this account, it is considered non-probate property, and will get to your beneficiary more quickly than probate property. Just like your other estate planning documents, your retirement account needs to be properly set up and maintained in order to reap the benefits, and you need to: 1. Make sure you have named a primary beneficiary along with a secondary beneficiary (some forms may … [Read more...] about Seven Estate Planning Tasks for Your IRA
If you choose to go it alone in estate planning, you run the risk of making at least one of these estate-planning mistakes: Naming your estate as a beneficiary When it comes to life insurance, qualified retirement plans and annuities, you can name one or more persons to be the recipients of the death benefit. That way you can bypass estate administration and probate court. But many people name their estate as a beneficiary, perhaps thinking that they will sort it all out later and then change … [Read more...] about DIY Estate Planning Mistakes
When you create a will, you choose who will receive your property, you select someone you trust to act as the "personal representative” or "executor,” and if you have children under 18 years of age, you appoint the person you want to be their legal guardian if you die. Creating a will is the cornerstone of an estate plan, but can this be done using a statutory will? A statutory will is a “fill-in-the-blank” form that is simple to complete, inexpensive to prepare, but very limited in its use. A … [Read more...] about What are Statutory Wills?
A common phrase used in estate planning is the ‘rights of survivorship,’ particularly when it comes to owning real estate. But do you know what this phrase actually means in plain English? The ‘rights of survivorship’ is the ownership of property by two or more people in which the survivors automatically gain ownership of another’s interest upon their death. In the case of more than one survivor, the decendent's share is divided among the survivors. For example – Harry and Sally are married … [Read more...] about Estate Planning and the Rights of Survivorship
Creating a will is the cornerstone of estate planning, don’t underestimate the need for a valid, legal will. It is necessary, even if you have a living trust, to name an executor for your estate, to name a guardian for any children under the age of 18 and to distribute or ‘pour over’ any property not owned by a living trust. The popularity of do it yourself will kits and forms has increased over the past decade, but there are four things that may be missing from this estate planning document … [Read more...] about Four Items a Will Should Have