Estate Basics

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the primary focus of your last will and testament and/or trusts set up in their behalf. These are the people or groups (such as a charitable organization) you choose to inherit part or all of your estate after your death You can list the name of a beneficiary, but you can assign a […]

Communication is Important

Communication is Important An often overlooked part of estate planning is communicating with all the people named in your estate plan. Talking with them can ensure a smooth transition during the difficult period after your death, while surprises can create a lot of problems. The two most important things to do are providing your agent […]

Change with the Times

Change with the Times Once you have an effective estate plan, it is important to realize that this may only be efficient for a short period of time. An estate plan is a dynamic financial tool and evolves constantly, for many reasons. To maintain an effective estate plan you must be aware of any and […]

Make Decisions Carefully

Make Decisions Carefully There are many components to an estate plan and it’s important to carefully consider each one. Most estate planning tools are pretty flexible while you are alive, however there are many things that are difficult to change and even a few that can’t be at all, such as an irrevocable trust. Most […]

Know All Your Options

Know All Your Options Estate plans are highly individualized and complicated. They cannot be done properly if you don’t consider your situation, inventory all of your assets, and research all of the options. This is true even if you hire a professional, since they need to know everything to make proper decisions and may not […]

Crucial Estate Planning Steps

Crucial Estate Planning Steps If your estate plan is not done properly, there may be consequences that can’t be corrected or easily fixed. Aside from not having an estate plan at all, there are four other basic errors you can make when planning and creating one: Not knowing all your estate planning options; Poor decisions […]

Choosing Probate

Choosing Probate You can choose whether or not your assets will be subject to the probate process.To do so you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages and how they might apply to you. Advantages of Avoiding Probate Since the court is not involved, your trust settlement does not become part of the Public Record, […]

Convertible assets

Convertible assets Many assets can be converted to a type that does not involve probate court by simply naming another person as the designated beneficiary. Assets to consider converting to avoid the probate process include: Personal trusts; Life insurance, bank accounts, and retirement plans (Payable on Death Accounts); and/or Property, such as stocks, bonds, real […]

Non-probate Estate Assets

Non-probate Estate Assets Not all of your assets are subject to the probate process and can pass directly to beneficiaries. Typically these assets will not be listed in your will, since each has its own document. It is best to store these documents with your will and other important paperwork. As with most other rules, […]

Estate Assets Subject to the Probate Process

Estate Assets Subject to the Probate Process Whether or not it is necessary for property and other assets to go through the probate process usually depends on who will be the official owner of the asset at the time of your death. The official owner of property is the person whose name is on the […]