Many people spend more time planning their vacation than planning their estates. Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life. It is one of the most important steps a person can take. The purpose of estate planning is to prepare to transfer your assets to others upon your death. Estate planning allows you to specify where each of your assets goes upon your death. This involves deciding who the beneficiaries will be, what each will get, and how to perform those transfers with the minimum tax consequences, while making sure that the estate has enough liquidity to meet its obligations.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR HEALTHCARE DECISIONS?
Ask yourself these question’s, What will happen if I am incapacitated? Who will make my medical decisions if I cannot? Do I have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order in place? Healthcare decisions can be a difficult time for you and loved ones during your time of need. Did you know that HIPAA states that your Protected Health Information (PHI) cannot be used or shared without your written permission unless HIPAA allows it? This includes a spouse! Proper estate planning should contain your medical powers, up to date HIPAA forms, an appointed medical decision maker on your behalf, and your wishes.
CAN YOU AVOID PROBATE?
Marilyn Monroe Estate value: $819,176 Cost of settlement: $871,176
Elvis Presley Estate value: $10,165,434 Cost of settlement: $7,374,635
The cost of probate may be set by state law or by practice and custom in your community, so it will differ from place to place. When all the costs are tallied, probate can easily cost from 3–7% of the total estate value, and more. The costs may include appraisal costs, personal representative fees, court costs, costs for a type of insurance policy known as a surety bond plus legal and accounting fees.