There is a tangled web of rules and options. For any given family situation and set of desires, there is a best answer when it comes to meeting your wishes, minimizing the tax owed, and optimizing your estate plan.
It is a common assumption that your last will and testament determines who gets your stuff when you die. What you may not know is the vast majority of your assets may be transferred to others regardless of the instructions in your will.
A good estate plan is every bit as useful during your lifetime as it is at your death. No matter your age or how much (or how little) money you have, there are three essential estate planning documents you should have.
Knowing which assets to give away to your beneficiaries can save your estate and your beneficiaries big tax bills, even if you have a small net worth. If you plan on making a gift to charity from your estate, you can be even more tax savvy with your giving.
One of the most common estate planning mistakes is a plan that is implemented incorrectly. Your estate plan is only worth the paper it is printed on unless you follow through on titling your assets correctly and updating your beneficiary designations.
If you own real estate in different states, you may be leaving a mess of nightmarish proportions for your executor (the person who oversees and distributes your assets when you die). Here’s how to reduce the headache.