Who’s going to receive your assets?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to life insurance. Getting your life insurance plan right takes into account a number of factors.
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Now that Congress has set a high trigger point for the federal estate tax, it only hits single people who leave more than $5 million behind, and couples can pass on more than $10 million tax-free—you might think you can scratch estate planning off your “to do” list*.
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Not so fast! Estate planning is about a lot more than the federal estate tax.
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Basically, it’s about removing the roadblocks that can stand in the way of getting your things to the people you want to have them, with as little hassle and expense as possible.
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The number one barrier, of course, is the lack of a valid will that spells out your wishes. If you don’t write your own will, the state will write one for you. Not good.
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Next is the need for cash to cover the bills that must be paid before your assets can be distributed—your final expenses, for example, and any outstanding debts.
There’s more to think about, too.
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Some possessions can be more difficult to pass on than others—it’s a lot easier to carve up a bank account among several heirs, for example, than a cottage in the woods. With proper planning, though, you can accomplish whatever you want.
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Did you know that some assets go to heirs free of any income tax, but other parts of your legacy can carry a heavy tax burden? Or that giving property away while you’re still alive rather than passing it on via your will can be either a savvy move . . . or a big mistake?
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There’s a lot to think about, and there’s lots of help available. Putting together a solid estate plan can pay off with helping your piece of mind today . . . and in helping to ensure your wishes are fulfilled tomorrow.
This information should not be construed as tax or legal advice. Always consult with your tax or legal professional for details and guidelines specific to your situation.
*CCH Tax Briefing, January 3, 2013, American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012