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What Should You Consider When Planning For An Estate



Estate planning is something that every adult should consider sooner rather later. An appropriate estate plan can accomplish numerous advantages for not only the party doing the planning, but also for that party's family. Estate planning is not an exercise limited to the old or infirm. Young parents, single adults and empty-nesters should give serious consideration to creating a properly prepared estate plan.

It should come as no big shock that many Americans complain of problems on a personal level after a loved one died or became incapacitated because of the lack of a proper estate plan. This is a sad reality because it can easily be avoided with a little planning. Estate planning need not be complicated or expensive. The advantages are numerous, and the disadvantages of not doing it are many.

Advantages of estate planning

First, an estate plan may protect your family members and estate from tax burdens and expensive costs and fees. Second, an estate plan also permits a party and her family to address complicated and emotionally-charged situations surrounding the distribution of certain estate assets, such as family heirlooms or property that is desired by multiple parties. Third, estate plans allow a party to address distribution of estate assets well in advance and to be prepared, so that family members do not have to do these things after you die when they are otherwise distracted by grief, emotions, funeral and burial preparations.

Goals of estate planning

Now that you are probably convinced of the need to undergo estate planning, what goals should you have for your planning? Many undertake estate planning for the following reasons:

  • To eliminate the expenses associated with going through probate, or to avoid the delays and time demands associated with probate;
  • To reduce their federal tax exposure;
  • To maintain the privacy of personal, financial and private matters;
  • To avoid confrontation and difficult emotional situations involving the distribution of certain estate assets, such as family heirlooms;
  • To provide for any minor children;
  • To review retirement accounts and the beneficiaries named under retirement plans;
  • To maximize the flexibility of estate assets;
  • To gain protection from estate creditors; and
  • To plan for medical emergencies and instances of incapacity.