2/23/2018

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Living Trusts and Wills

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Your Estate

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Your Estate

Regardless of it's size, it is important that you are content with the decisions you make about your estate and that your final wishes are carried out to your satisfaction.

Question: What is an Estate?

Answer: An estate is a legal term meant to express the fact that you are the owner of assets. It doesn't matter the quantity or the value, if you own anything that is tangible, a business, an investment, real estate, or money in a bank account, stuffed under a mattress, or just laying around, you have an estate.

Question: Is it necessary to plan the disposition of my estate in advance?

Answer: If you want your estate to go to those whom you want to have it, yes, it is advisable to make plans in advance, and the sooner, the better. For whatever reasons, many people hesitate when it comes to making decisions about the way they want their assets distributed when the pass away, and that leads to probate, unnecessary taxes, and on many occasions, animosity and court battles between siblings, family members, and others who simply make claims that they are rightful heirs or beneficiaries.

Question: If I don't have a will or family trust drawn up, who will take charge of my estate when I die?

Answer: By not taking the necessary measures to plan distribution of your estate before your death, you may leave the outcome of your estate to someone else, maybe not the person you want in charge. If there is no will or trust, the courts will appoint an administrator. This is especially true if your estate contains real estate, stocks and bonds, insurance policies, and other investment vehicles.

Question: What can I do to make sure my estate is divided equally between my heirs?

Answer: Depending on the amount of asset you have, and how you want them left, you may start with an estate plan. A will, living trust, or a gift before you die, can set your estate in order and preempt heavy tax penalties against your assets. A well thought out estate plan can also decrease state and federal tax liabilities for those who become the beneficiaries at the time of your passing.

Question: Can I draw up a will or living trust on my own?

Answer: Yes, you can. Many people draw up their own wills or family trusts, but since there are many legal aspects involved, you may want to consider getting professional help from an attorney on matters of such importance. Each state has it's own laws regulating taxes on estates, gifts, and inheritances, and you want to make sure that you are acting within the laws that apply to you and your beneficiaries.

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