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Don’t Overlook These Two Essential Estate Planning Strategies

When it comes to estate planning, there’s no shortage of techniques and strategies available to reduce your taxable estate and ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. Indeed, the two specific strategies discussed below should be used in many estate plans. 1) Take advantage of the annual gift…

An Estate Planning “Road Map” Can Act as a Catchall for your Final Thoughts

No matter how much effort you’ve invested in crafting an estate plan, your will, trusts and other official documents may not be enough. Consider also drafting a “road map.” Essentially, it’s an informal letter that guides your family in executing your plan according to your wishes. What to address Among…

Business owners: Now’s the time to revisit buy-sell agreements

If you own an interest in a closely held business, a buy-sell agreement should be a critical component of your estate and succession plans. These agreements provide for the orderly disposition of each owner’s interest after a “triggering event,” such as death, disability, divorce or withdrawal from the business. This…

Is your revocable trust fully funded?

A revocable trust — sometimes known as a “living trust” — can provide significant benefits. They include the ability to avoid probate of the assets the trust holds and facilitating management of your assets in the event you become incapacitated. To obtain these benefits, however, you must fund the trust…

In your own words: A letter of instruction complements a will

A smart estate plan should leave no doubt as to your intentions. Writing a letter of instruction can go a long way toward clearly communicating all of your thoughts and wishes. Even though the letter, unlike a valid will, isn’t legally binding, it can be valuable to your surviving family…

Annual gift tax exclusion amount increases for 2023

Did you know that one of the most effective estate-tax-saving techniques is also one of the simplest and most convenient? By making maximum use of the annual gift tax exclusion, you can pass substantial amounts of assets to loved ones during your lifetime without any gift tax. For 2022, the…

Leave a Lasting Legacy with a Family Education Trust

Providing for the educational needs of your children, grandchildren and even future generations is an honorable estate planning objective. What are your options for achieving this goal? A 529 plan can be a highly effective tool for funding tuition and other educational expenses on a tax-advantaged basis. But after your…

Complete your Estate Plan by adding Powers of Attorney

As you create your estate plan, your main objectives likely revolve around your family, both current and future generations. Your goals may include reducing estate tax liability so that you can pass as much wealth as possible to your loved ones. But it’s also critical to think about yourself. What…

What Does “Probate” Mean?

The term “probate” is one you’ve probably heard and might associate with negative connotations. But you may not fully understand what it is. For some people, the term conjures images of lengthy delays waiting for wealth to be transferred as well as bitter disputes among family members. Others, because the…

At your own risk: The pitfalls of DIY estate planning

There’s no law that says you can’t prepare your own estate plan. And with an abundance of online services that automate the creation of wills and other documents, it’s easy to do. But unless your estate is small and your plan is exceedingly simple, the pitfalls of do-it-yourself (DIY) estate…