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10 Tips for a Practical Estate Plan
A well crafted Estate Plan assures that you will transfer what you want, to whom you want, and the way you want, while minimizing the expenses of that transition. Estate planning attorneys have thorough knowledge of all conventional estate planning tools and options, and they have the ability to craft a plan that is both practical and affordable. To make sure your estate plan executes your wishes in a smooth, timely fashion, here are 10 practical estate planning tips to help you get started!

Estate planning papers laying on a desk next to a black pen

10 Tips for a Practical Estate Plan

1. Inventory of Assets

Keep an up-to-date inventory of your assets – a good starting point in planning your estate is to know what you actually have, and how it is titled.

2. Make it Personal

Make it personal by composing a letter to your heirs to reflect your love and concern. This will temper the cold and impersonal nature of the legal documents.

3. Final Arrangements

Make sure your funeral and burial wishes are known. You might think they are, but this is often not the case.

4. Lifetime Gifts

Consider lifetime gifts. An heirloom to a grandchild is more meaningful when received from Grandma’s hand, than through an estate.

5. Charity

Include charity in your estate plan. It humanizes the process and demonstrates that you care about the world around you, as well as your family.

6. Trusts

Consider trusts – trusts created in your Will can address many issues and should always be considered as part of planning.

7. Power of Attorney

Make sure you have a durable Power of Attorney with enhanced and specific gifting powers.

8. Health Care Proxy

Make sure your Health Care Proxy is up to date and in the hands of your health care provider.

9. Sufficient Liquidity

Make sure there is sufficient liquidity in your estate to pay debts. So many assets pass by beneficiary designation and outside of your estate that your estate may be cash poor, and your relatives cash rich, with no way to pay your debts.

10. Charitable Remainder Trust

Consider leaving your IRA to a Charitable Remainder Trust – it is a way to stretch out, beyond ten years, the mandatory period of distribution, while also benefitting your favorite charity at the end. It’s magic.

To formulate an estate plan that considers your family, your community, your charities, and at the same time minimizes taxes to you and your heirs, contact our office today! Our law firm is experienced in preparing comprehensive estate plans which save tax and administrative costs while accommodating the special circumstances that exist in almost every family.
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