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Why Plan Your Estate?




by:
John D. Williams
Law Offices of John D. Williams - Westlake Village Office

 
November 24, 2009

Many people mistakenly believe they don't need an estate plan if their estate won't be subject to estate taxes. However, there are many reasons to plan your estate, including:

  • To avoid taxes. While many estates will no longer be subject to estate taxes due to increasing exemption amounts, this is still a valid concern for many individuals. Careful estate planning can reduce the amount of estate taxes paid, leaving more assets for your heirs. Currently for 2011 and 2012 the estate tax exemption is $5,000,000 but in 2013 it reverts to only $1,000,000 with estate tax rate of 55% on the amount above the exemption.
  • To distribute your assets according to your wishes. Through the use of wills and trusts, you can ensure your assets are distributed to your heirs based on your wishes.  
  • To name a guardian for minor children. If you die without a will, the courts will decide the guardian for your minor children.
  • To make provisions for heirs. Through the use of various trusts, you can determine how assets are distributed to your spouse, children, or other heirs.
  • To determine who will handle your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Otherwise, a court may need to make that determination.
  • To reduce delays in settling your estate. Proper planning can ensure assets are distributed quickly to heirs.
  • To reduce the costs of administering your estate. By ensuring your estate is properly planned and necessary estate planning vehicles in place, you can minimize costs for lawyers, appraisers, accountants, and court proceedings.
  • To plan your funeral arrangements. You can plan and even prepay for your funeral expenses to ensure your wishes are followed.


 

The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.
 

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