Planning to Leave a Legacy

As congress has finally set the estate and gift tax law, there are no more excuses for people to put off estate planning. A recent article discusses several steps to take for those in the beginning of the estate planning process.

One of the first steps to take is to list out all of your assets and liabilities. This information is vital to the preparation of an effective and complete estate plan. Some assets that individuals commonly forget to include in such a list include pension plans, insurance policies, trusts for which the individual is a beneficiary, expected inheritances, and older assets and accounts. Be sure to compile a list of debts as well, as debts will count against your estate at your death.

Also consider how you would like your assets to be distributed. Consider whether you want to leave certain assets to certain heirs, or whether you simply want your estate divided equally between several named beneficiaries. You may also wish to name charities or other organizations as beneficiaries of your estate.

Consider how much property you would like to gift during life, and how much you would like to hold onto until your death. If your wish is to benefit your heirs, you may better serve their interests by transferring some assets to them now. Moreover, by transferring assets during life, you can see exactly how your gifts are being used.

For assistance in planning and executing an estate plan, contact an estate planning attorney today.

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