Estate Planning consists of managing and distributing the estate in a manner consistent with owner’s objectives.
Preparing for Incapacity should also included in every estate plan. If you become ill or injured, decide who will take care of your finances, make decisions about your health care, and how it will be paid for.
The Estate includes the home, other real estate, certificates of deposit, checking and savings accounts, life insurance, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. In other words, if one were to die today what would be the entire value to be divided?
Estate Planning Objectives consists of the following three goals:
- Maintain Control
- Minimize Expense
- Distribute Quickly
Three major obstacles that prevent the estate planning objectives from being accomplished are:
- Estate and Gift Taxes
Choices in Estate Distribution
There are three main ways that an Estate can be distributed:
- Probate – An expensive court proceeding that distributes a deceased person’s estate.
- Operation of Law – Assets are transferred automatically to someone without regard to the terms of the will or any contrary desires of the descendent. Joint tenancy, in which the assets are transferred to the surviving spouse, is a common example of Operation of Law.
- Living Trust – A legal entity created to own, manage, and distribute assets in accordance with an individual’s desire. The administrations of the assets are not interrupted by probate nor a guardianship since the Trust does not die and does not become incompetent.
Obstacles in Estate Planning
Probate – probate is that it is an expensive court proceeding, which distributes a deceased person’s estate.
Guardianship – Guardianship is a court proceeding similar to probate.the difference is that Guardianship occurs while the person is still alive however, physically incapacitated or mentally incompetent.
For Further Questions
Stephen Wolfe, CSA
1200 Rogers Circle, Suite 4
Boca Raton, Florida 33487