Estate Planning

Taking the First Steps
Many people think estate plans are only for the wealthy. This isn’t the case. Every parent, grandparent, spouse, business owner and professional person should have an estate plan. Here’s an outline of what you need to do and consider when you first start this important process.
Making Decisions...
There are important and sensitive decisions to be made as a part of your plan, including organ donation, having a living will, and who gets the power of attorney.
Special Considerations
Special considerations exist if you have a spouse or children, or will be providing for children or adults with special needs.
Wills
If you want to be sure who will get whatever assets you have built up after your debts are paid, you need a will. Yet preparing a will in all but the simplest of cases requires the expertise of a lawyer who knows his way around this ancient field of law. If you have children you want to inherit specific assets, a spouse who needs to be looked after, accrued but unrealized capital gains, perhaps property in the United States or another country, or a university or other cause you want to endow, a will is indispensable.
Your Executor
Your executor is responsible for many important tasks in satisfying your wishes set out in your will. It’s important that you choose someone you can trust and will be able to competantly fill the role.
Final Tax Bill
Joint Last-to-Die Life Insurance allows a life insurance policy to be transferred to a surviving spouse with the taxes being deferred to the survivor’s death and used to pay the tax owed on the estate.
Planning Checklist
Now that you’ve been given something to think about, it’s time to see how your estate plan is coming along. This checklist will help you identify things you may have overlooked and indicate which parts of your estate plan need further consideration.