Estate Planning

Definitions

Estate planning – Planning to insure that your assetspass in an orderly and efficient manner to designated individuals. Estate planning includes Will and trust design strategies; Property ownership alternatives; Estate tax reduction techniques; Qualified plan distribution; Family gifting strategies; Charitable planning; Inherited IRA tax planning.

Tax and Estate Planning – Coordinating your financial goals and plans with your Accountant and Attorney is crucial. We will work with the other members of your team to ensure they understand the strategies you are pursuing.

Estate Conservation – Activities coordinated to provide for the orderly and cost-effective distribution of an individual’s assets at the time of his or her death. Estate conservation often includes wills and trusts.

Estate Tax – Upon the death of a decedent, federal and state governments impose taxes on the value of the estate left to others (with limitations).

Gift Taxes – A federal tax levied on the transfer of property as a gift. This tax is paid by the donor. The first $12,000 a year from a donor to each recipient is exempt from tax. Most states also impose a gift tax. The gift tax exemption is indexed annually for inflation.

Intestate – The condition of an estate left by a decedent without a valid will. State law then determines who inherits the property or serves as guardian for any minor children.

Probate -The court-supervised process in which a decedent’s estate is settled and distributed.

Tax Deferred – Interest, dividends, or capital gains that grow untaxed in certain accounts or plans until they are withdrawn.

Trust – A legal entity created by an individual in which one person or institution holds the right to manage property or assets for the benefit of someone else. Types of trusts include: Testamentary Trust – A trust established by a will that takes effect upon death; Living Trust – A trust created by a person during his or her lifetime; Revocable Trust – A trust in which the creator reserves the right to modify or terminate the trust; Irrevocable Trust – A trust that may not be modified or terminated by the trustor after its creation

Testamentary Trust – A trust established by a will that takes effect upon death.

Living Trust – A trust created by a person during his or her lifetime.

Community Property – State laws vary, but generally all property acquired during a marriage – excluding property one spouse receives from a will, inheritance, or gift – is considered community property, and each partner is entitled to one half. This includes debt accumulated. There are currently nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Welfare Benefit Plan – An employee benefit plan that provides such benefits as medical, sickness, accident, disability, death, or unemployment benefits.

Will – A legal document that declares a person’s wishes concerning the disposition of property, the guardianship of his or her children, and the administration of the estate after his or her death.