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Estate Planning

Jun 16, 2021 Trusts and limited liability companies (LLCs) are both legal vehicles that can be used to protect assets. Both are also created at the state level but they have different features and different uses. Trusts are primarily used to avoid taxation when transferring family assets from generation to the next. LLCs are legal business entities, similar to simplified corporations, that have as their main feature the ability to shield owners of the business from legal liability for actions of the business. Consider working with a financial advisor as you make key estate planning and business decisions. Read More...

Jun 10, 2021 When you assign someone power of attorney you give them the authority to make decisions for you and on your behalf. Whatever the agent, as this person is called, decides will be as binding as if you’d made the decision yourself, so only give power of attorney to someone you absolutely trust. While a specific form is unnecessary for power of attorney, just about every jurisdiction offers one in order to help you understand this process. Here’s what you need to know. Read More...

Jun 01, 2021 Trusts and estates are the two main legal structures for transferring assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. Each works in critically different ways. Estates make a one-time transfer of your assets after death. Trusts, meanwhile, allow you to create an ongoing transfer of assets both before and after death. Here’s how each one works. Consider working with a financial advisor as you weigh the relative merits of trusts and estates. Read More...

May 27, 2021 Failing health often robs people of their agency. Whether due to age or illness, many hospital patients can’t effectively communicate their own wishes. For legal matters, this is handled through matters such as medical power of attorney, trusts and estates. This can also apply when it comes to respecting the patient’s medical wishes. Several legal structures exist to deal with that as well, but the living will and healthcare proxy are two of the most common. Consider working with a financial advisor as you make arrangements for end-of-life care. Read More...

May 26, 2021 Two of the possible ways for people making arrangements for the disposition of their assets after their death are wills and irrevocable trusts. Each one has unique strengths. Here’s how the two compare and contrast so you can determine if one or the other is right for you. Don't let the intricacies of estate planning keep you from deciding what happens to your assets after you die; work with a financial planner to take the estate planning steps that are best for you. Read More...

May 26, 2021 Estate planning is also an important step in taking care of what matters most: your loved ones and the life you’ve worked hard for. Two of the options are a revocable trust and a will. But which one is the best choice for your estate’s needs? Here is a comparison to see how the two stack up. Consider working with a financial advisor as you do estate planning. Read More...

May 20, 2021 When shaping an estate plan, one of the most important steps is deciding who has access to your assets. Specifically, that means who inherits bank accounts and other financial accounts when you pass away. In trust for vs. payable on death accounts can both be used to manage assets. But they aren’t the same, in terms of how they work or when it makes sense to use them. Understanding what in trust for and payable on death mean matters for efficient estate planning. Consider working with a  financial advisor if you need help setting up an estate plan or managing inherited money. Read More...

May 20, 2021 Life insurance beneficiary designations allow the policyholder to decide who should receive a death benefit when he or she passes away. That doesn’t prevent someone from contesting life insurance beneficiary payouts, however. There are different reasons why someone may choose to dispute the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. If you believe you have a valid claim to contest someone’s beneficiary status or your own position as a beneficiary is being challenged, it’s important to understand how disputes can affect life insurance payouts. Read More...

May 01, 2021 Payable on death accounts can help streamline the process of transferring certain assets to loved ones after you pass away. Also referred to as a POD account or Totten trust, a payable on death account can be established at a bank or credit union and is transferrable to the beneficiary of your choosing. There are different reasons for including a payable on death account in your estate plan and it’s helpful to understand how they work when deciding whether to create one. Estate planning is best done with the counsel of a financial advisor, who can help you coordinate your investment goals with your end-of-life wishes. Read More...

Apr 07, 2021 Trusts can be a useful tool for estate planning if you’d like to preserve assets for loved ones while minimizing estate taxes. A qualified domestic trust (QDOT) is a specific type of trust that can offer tax benefits for married couples. With a QDOT, a surviving spouse can qualify for the marital deduction on estate taxes for assets included in the trust. This type of arrangement can be particularly helpful when a surviving spouse is not a U.S. citizen. Here’s more on how these trusts work, the benefits and limitations of having one and how to establish a QDOT as part of your estate plan. Estate planning is always done best in consultation with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Confronting our health and what might happen to us someday is not an easy task. Even though estate planning is emotionally challenging, it’s a necessary step to protect yourself. Not only that, without any plans, your loved ones might face unnecessary difficulties. Dealing with the assets alone can be a struggle. You wouldn’t want them worrying about making medical decisions on top of that. So, if you want to prepare for the future, it might be the right time to ask, “How much does a living will cost?” Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 When planning for the future, it’s common to think of what you’ll do with your estate and assets. However, there is more to consider than just your financial situation. You have to take into account your health and well-being, too. That’s where advance medical directives come in. By drafting one, you can ensure you and your body are well taken care of even when you can’t. There are two common ways to employ a medical directive: a living will and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. A financial advisor can help you sort through the pros and cons of both options. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Estate planning as an individual is complicated enough, but planning for it in a marriage can create greater difficulties. Working as a unified partnership for your joint estate's future means that you both will have priorities you want to bring into the plan. Some concerns you both might have include costly estate taxes and providing for the other after one passes. If so, the estate tax marital deduction might be worth investigating. Here is some basic information you'll need before considering whether the marital deduction could fit into your estate plan. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Planning for the later years of your life is often an emotionally taxing experience. However, it’s often scarier to go into the end of our life without a plan. Of course, a plan requires the right legal documents. A living will and a last will may sound like they cover the same territory, but they’re very different; knowing how will help you pick the one that's best for you or decide you need both. So, with that in mind, here are the main differences between a living will vs. a last will and why they might be useful to you. Read More...

Mar 30, 2021 Hard choices wait around every corner as you age, but some of the most difficult ones are about your own care. Without a plan in place, you might not be able to convey your wishes to those around you, leaving loved ones scrambling to make the right decision. Fortunately, there are several ways you can ensure your choices for your medical and end-of-life care are understood. A living will and power of attorney are two of these ways. But what’s the difference between them and how do you know which one is right for you?  If you’re beginning to plan your future care, here are the key differences between a living will vs. a power of attorney. Read More...

Mar 29, 2021 TotalLegal is a company that offers consumers the opportunity to create quality legal documents for a variety of needs. With regards to estate planning, the website allows users to create a last will and testament, power of attorney, living will and medical power of attorney. It also offers a full plan subscription so that users can connect with attorneys for services as well. If you’re looking to begin the process of creating a legal document with TotalLegal, you just have to begin by answering an online interview. Once you create an account you can log in later to revise or download your documents. If you’d rather have a professional personally help you with your entire estate plan, consider working with a  local financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 29, 2021 FreeWill is an online estate planning tool that allows you to create or update a legally binding will in as little as 20 minutes. It offers products such as the ability to document funeral wishes, create a durable financial power of attorney, advance healthcare directives (living wills) and give charitable contributions from your retirement or stock brokerage account. As the company’s name implies, FreeWill’s services are completely free. Funding comes from FreeWill’s partnership with more than 100 nonprofit organizations who sponsor these services. You can access the service online, giving users the ability to change or download their will at any time without needing to create a new one. If you’d rather have a professional personally help you with your entire estate plan, consider working with a  local financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 29, 2021 Estate planning can be an overwhelming process, emotionally and mentally. The prices to work with a financial professional certainly don’t help either. These days, it’s possible to find free templates and do-it-yourself kits online that make estate planning more affordable. While after-life planning can be complicated, you may not need to spend money on an estate planning attorney. If your estate is simple, it might be worth investigating how to make a will for free instead. A financial advisor can help you sort through your options for making an estate plan. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Estate planning costs vary, and the difference in fees can only add to the emotional challenges. It's difficult enough to begin managing matters of death without confusion on top of that. The pandemic has only compounded such challenges. We are most stressed when we don’t understand, though. So, if you're trying to navigate the basics of estate planning costs, below are a few core concepts that might help. Consider working with a  financial advisor if you need help setting up an estate plan or managing inherited money. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Washington, D.C. does levy an estate tax on the estates of certain people after they have died. Specifically, the D.C. estate tax applies to any estate worth more than $4 million starting in 2021. In 2020, the threshold was $5.7642 million. For anyone who died prior to 2021, the rate of the estate tax is graduated and runs from 12.0% to 16.0%. Estate planning isn’t easy, and if you are planning for your estate or dealing with the estate of a loved one, you may need some help. Consider finding a financial advisor to help you using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Mar 01, 2021 Online will-writing and estate planning platform DoYourOwnWill.com boasts features that cover a wide variety of will-related situations. Surprisingly, you won't have to pay anything to take advantage of what the company offers. At the same token, DoYourOwnWill is relatively basic, and those with more complex estate planning needs may want to look elsewhere. DoYourOwnWill also doesn't provide access to customer support if you run into any issues along the way. Should you have specific questions, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 01, 2021 Trust & Will is an online estate planning platform that allows you to create documents such as wills, trusts and guardianships. Trust & Will is available entirely online, so you won't need to download software to your computer. Trust & Will is a great estate planning tool, as it combines a wide range of services with a modern design that's easy to navigate. While Trust & Will is on the more expensive side, it has the ability to provide significant value to users. If you're not sure about using an online program to do your estate planning, you may want to work with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 01, 2021 When it comes to online estate planning, Rocket Lawyer is a solid option with a few caveats. The company's seven-day free trial allows you to create a will and other legal documents for free, but you have to enter your credit card information and pay for expanded access to the platform. Rocket Lawyer will also help you to create a wide range of different estate planning documents. However, because DIY estate planning comes with certain risks, it may be a good idea to work with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Mar 08, 2021 Quicken is already a popular personal finance company when it comes to tracking spending or getting a mortgage. However, the brand can also help you take care of your estate planning needs. Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2021 helps you put together and write your own will and trust easily and without having to consult a lawyer or get someone to draft the documents for you. You can also customize legal documents, such as health care directives. While Quicken WillMaker is a great option when it comes to writing a will, a financial advisor can offer you more comprehensive help. Try using SmartAsset's free tool to find matches near you. Read More...

Feb 19, 2021 A will is an important part of a basic estate plan and making one may be easier than you might think. Online will-maker software programs allow you to create a will on your own, often for less than what you might pay to an estate planning attorney. But which is the best online will maker and how do you determine which program to use? If you’re ready to make a will, here are some suggestions for the best will-making software options available now. Working with a financial advisor as you put together or modify an estate plan can save you time and help you avoid mistakes. Read More...

Feb 18, 2021 A living will is a legal document that allows you to specify the kind of care you’d like to receive in end-of-life situations. This is different from an advance healthcare directive, though either one can be an important part of an estate plan. If you’d like to draft a living will, you could get help from an estate planning attorney or you may try using an online software program to create one. Regardless of which one you choose, it’s important to understand how to make a living will to ensure that yours is valid and your wishes are upheld. A financial advisor can offer valuable insight and guidance as you make an estate plan. Read More...

Feb 08, 2021 Creating a will is an important step in estate planning. A last will and testament is an important legal document that allows you to specify how you’d like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. You can also choose an executor to oversee your estate and ensure that the terms of your will are carried out. It’s possible that you may choose an executor for your will, only to decide later that someone else is better suited for the job. Or your heirs see to remove a will executor after you pass away. As you shape your estate plan, it’s important to understand when the executor of a will can be removed and why it may be necessary. One of the best ways to shape your estate plan is by working with a financial planner. Read More...

Feb 05, 2021 Getting married for a second time following a divorce or the death of your first spouse can feel like a fresh start. But it’s important to consider how joining your life with someone else’s may impact your financial plan, including how you manage your estate. What is fair in a second marriage and estate planning? It can be a difficult question to answer, especially when you or your new spouse are bringing children into the marriage or you plan to have children together at some point. Understanding some of the key financial issues surrounding a second marriage can help with reshaping your estate plan. So can consulting a financial advisor, especially one experienced in estate planning for second marriages. Read More...

Feb 05, 2021 A trust can be a useful estate planning tool, in addition to a will. You can use a trust to remove assets from probate, potentially minimize estate and gift taxes and ensure that assets are managed on behalf of beneficiaries according to your wishes. There are different types of trusts you can establish and some are more specialized than others. Knowing how these broad categories of trusts compare can help with choosing the right option. When it comes to estate planning, including whether to create a trust, a  financial advisor can help you make the most informed decision possible. Read More...

Feb 05, 2021 Estate planning can help you pass on assets to your heirs while potentially minimizing taxes. When gifting assets, it’s important to consider when and how the generation-skipping tax transfer (GSTT) may apply. Also called the generation-skipping tax, this federal tax can apply when a grandparent leaves assets to a grandchild while skipping over their parents in the line of inheritance. It can also be triggered when leaving assets to someone who’s at least 37.5 years younger than you. If you’re considering “skipping” any of your heirs when passing on assets, it’s important to understand what that means from a tax perspective and how to fill out the requisite form. A financial advisor can also give you valuable guidance on how best to pass along your estate to your beneficiaries. Read More...

Feb 05, 2021 Medicaid is a government program that can help eligible seniors pay for nursing home care. If you’re helping an aging parent navigate Medicaid because they don’t have long-term care insurance or you think you’ll need it yourself someday, it’s important to understand how the program works. For instance, you should be aware that the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) may be used to recoup costs paid toward long-term care. Medicaid estate recovery is intended to help make the program affordable for the government, but it can financially impact the beneficiaries of Medicaid recipients. Make sure you're handling this kind of situation in the wisest possible way by consulting a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 13, 2021 Making a last will and testament is an important part of your estate plan and there are different types of wills to choose from. A nuncupative will, meaning a will that’s oral rather than written, may be an option in certain circumstances. While state will laws typically require that a will be written, signed and witnessed to be considered legal, there are scenarios in which an oral will could be upheld as valid. Understanding how a nuncupative will works, as well as the pros and cons, can help with shaping your will-making plans if you have yet to create one. A financial professional can offer advice on investing, retirement planning, financial planning and various other areas of finance.  Find a financial advisor today.   Read More...

Dec 30, 2020 When creating an estate plan, one of the most basic documents you may wish to include is a will. If you have a more complicated estate, you might also need to have a trust in place. Both a will and a trust can specify how you want assets distributed among your beneficiaries. When making those decisions, it’s important to distinguish between per stirpes and per capita distributions. These are two terms you’re likely to come across when shaping your estate plan. Here’s a closer look at what per stirpes vs. per capita means. Read More...

Dec 30, 2020 When a marriage ends in divorce in Florida, assets are likely to be divided approximately 50-50 according to the prevailing practice of equitable distribution. Florida couples wanting a more active role in deciding how marital property will be divided in the event of divorce can use a prenuptial agreement to give their wishes force. Prenuptial agreements can also describe how matters will go in the event of separation or the death of one of the partners and can cover alimony as well as the division of debts and other matters. Consider enlisting the services of a trusted  financial advisor to help you create a prenup that best fits your needs. Read More...

Jun 23, 2021 Taking care of aging parents is something you may need to plan for, especially if you think one or both of them might need long-term care. One thing you may not know is that some states have filial responsibility laws that require adult children to help financially with the cost of nursing home care. Whether these laws affect you or not depends largely on where you live and what financial resources your parents have to cover long-term care. But it’s important to understand how these laws work to avoid any financial surprises as your parents age. Read More...

Dec 28, 2020 Drafting a last will and testament can help to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. You can also use your will to name a legal guardian for minor children or choose an executor for your estate. It’s possible to make changes to your will after it’s written, including removing or adding an executor if necessary. If you’re wondering how to change the executor of a will after the fact, the process is easier than you might think. As you go about the process, it may behoove you to find a trusted financial advisor in your area for hands-on guidance. Read More...

Dec 28, 2020 A will is an important part of your financial plan. When you create a will and testament, you’re creating a legal document that determines how your assets will be distributed once you pass away. You can also use a will to name legal guardians for minor children. When making a will and testament, it’s important to follow the rules in your state to ensure the will is valid. One of those rules centers on the requirements for witnesses. For more guidance on the intricacies of wills and estate planning, consider enlisting the services of an expert financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 17, 2020 A fiduciary bond, otherwise known as a probate bond, is a protective court bond that ensures a fiduciary will honor the expectations placed on them according to the law. The fiduciary bond upholds the interests and protection of the estate or trust owner. To understand who needs a fiduciary bond, how it works and the costs involved, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Dec 17, 2020 A fiduciary deposit account is an account that's owned by one or more persons but managed by another. The owner is known as the principal, while the manager is known as the fiduciary. These accounts are sometimes used to handle estate or trust assets, among other purposes. Their legal status and their insurance coverage are determined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Here's what you need to know about this type of account. Read More...

Feb 10, 2021 Inheriting property or other assets typically involves filing the appropriate tax forms with the IRS. Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) is used to report a beneficiary’s share of an estate or trust, including income as well as credits, deductions and profits. Beneficiaries of an inheritance received a K-1 tax form inheritance statement for the 2020 tax year by the end of December 2020. If you’re the beneficiary of an estate or trust, it’s important to understand what to do with this form if you receive one and what it can mean for your tax filing. Read More...

Dec 01, 2020 When someone passes away leaving debts behind, you might be wondering if you have any personal liability to pay them. If you have aging parents, for instance, you may be worried about having to assume responsibility for their mortgage payments, credit cards or other debts. If you’ve asked yourself, “Can I inherit debt?” the answer is typically no, even though those debts don’t automatically disappear. But there are situations in which you may have to deal with a loved one’s creditors after they’re gone. Read More...

Nov 23, 2020 Creating a will is one of the most basic elements of estate planning. There are different types of wills you can choose from, including a simple will. Simple or basic wills let you spell out how you want your assets to be distributed among your beneficiaries once you pass away. You can also use this kind of will to name an executor and choose a guardian for minor children. That can be a good starting point for shaping an estate plan, but there are times when you may need more than just a basic will. Read More...

Nov 20, 2020 A joint will is a will two people, typically spouses, create to handle the distribution of their assets once they pass away. Joint wills can simplify the will-making process to a degree, but they can sometimes result in mistakes or cause problems for the surviving spouse or will maker. It's also worth noting that not every state allows for joint wills. Before creating a will with someone else, it's important to understand how the process works and the pros and cons involved. Read More...

Nov 20, 2020 When planning a funeral for a loved one, or for yourself, cremation may be presented as an alternative to burial. In terms of the expense involved, the average cremation cost can range from $1,500 to as much as $6,000. The costs can vary based on who performs cremation services and whether they're accompanied by a traditional funeral service. While choosing cremation could potentially be less expensive than burial, it's important to understand how the costs break down. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 A living trust is an estate planning vehicle that protects your assets against taxes and probate after you've died. There are multiple types of trusts, and you can generally assign beneficiaries and make adjustments, unless your trust is irrevocable. But how much do living trusts cost? We take a closer look in this guide. A financial advisor can help you develop a strong estate plan. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Nov 16, 2020 Planning a funeral can be an expensive prospect. The average funeral costs more than $7,000 and in many cases as much as $10,000 - or more, depending on the arrangements. Prepaid funeral plans offer a way to help manage those costs while easing the financial and emotional burden of planning a funeral for your loved ones. Whether it makes sense with your budget to purchase a prepaid funeral plan can depend on your wishes as well as your financial situation. There are different ways to preplan a funeral and it's important to consider what's involved in the process along with the cost. Read More...

Oct 30, 2020 Gifting stocks is something you might consider if you want to help someone else build a portfolio. Or you could gift shares of stock you own to a charitable organization. There are different ways to gift stocks and it's important to consider how doing so could affect you tax-wise. Depending on how the stocks are gifted, there may also be tax consequences for the person or organization you're giving the shares to. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 Trusts can be useful in estate planning for passing on assets to your heirs. A grantor retained income trust (GRIT) is a specific type of trust that allows you to transfer assets while still benefiting from the income they generate. This is a little more advanced than a typical revocable living trust, but establishing a GRIT could yield some advantages. If you're looking for ways to minimize taxes in your estate plan, you may wish to consider a grantor retained income trust. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 If you own a home, passing that property on to someone else -- whether it's a spouse, your children or someone else -- requires planning ahead. That's where a life estate comes in. A life estate is a legal way to own property with someone else and pass it on to them automatically when you die. Creating this type of ownership arrangement can help remove the property from the probate process. And a life estate can also be useful when planning for long-term care needs if you anticipate having to apply for Medicaid. If you want hands-on guidance navigating this process, consider matching with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 Annuities can provide guaranteed income and be useful supplements to a traditional 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account. Some even have more than one beneficiary, since annuities can include a death benefit that allows payouts to continue for a family member. Since there are multiple options for annuity payouts, it's important to know how they work and how taxes apply. We'll cover the essential below, but consider engaging a financial advisor to maximize an inherited annuity's benefits. Read More...

Oct 16, 2019 Estate planning can be a complex process, and relying on a will can put your heirs through the time and expense of probate court. A living trust can help simplify things. This arrangement can hold your assets and property in a single place so they can be effectively distributed to your beneficiaries following your passing. As probate and inheritance laws differ from state to state, there are different factors to consider depending on where you live. In this guide, we explore the living trust process for Wyoming residents. The process for creating a living trust is difficult, and can often require the help of a professional. If you're looking to start a living trust in Wyoming, consider seeking out an estate planning attorney and financial advisor. Try using SmartAsset's free matching tool to get paired with advisors in your area that can help. Read More...

Oct 16, 2019 A living trust is a viable  estate planning tool for Rhode Island residents. Since they allow your families and loved ones to skip the time-consuming and expensive process of proving a will, creating one is a good idea for those with complicated estates. If you, in fact, decide that a living trust makes sense for you, it might be a good idea to talk it over with a financial advisor and an estate planning attorney. SmartAsset's free matching tool can pair you with a local financial advisor based on your personal needs. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 No matter where you live, it's important to have a strong  estate plan in place. One popular estate planning tool is a living trust, which offers a secure way to store your assets and property so that they can be easily distributed to your beneficiaries after you die. As laws governing probate and inheritance vary from one state to another, the considerations that go into a living trust will depend on where you live. This article explores the living trust creation process for residents of North Dakota. It's a good idea to talk to an attorney and a financial advisor as you begin the estate-planning process. Try using SmartAsset's free matching tool to find an advisor in your area who can help you out. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 If you’re beginning to formulate your  estate plans, the paths you can take are numerous. One method of protecting your assets for your family is to form a living trust. While a living trust has its pros and cons like anything else, it can be a great way to make things easier on your descendants after you're gone. As probate and inheritance laws vary from state to state, the considerations that come into play when creating a trust will depend on where you live. This article specifically looks at the considerations and process for Maine residents. If you’re thinking of creating a living trust or you just want some general financial planning help, getting a financial advisor is probably a good idea. You can find one who suits your needs using SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 When  planning your estate, you have different tools at your disposal to protect your assets for your loved ones. One such tool is a living trust, which many estate-planning experts consider to be a more iron-clad strategy than writing a will. As probate and inheritance laws vary from state to state, the considerations that go into creating a living trust will differ depending on where you live. If you're considering creating a living trust in West Virginia, we'll walk you through what you need to know. Note that an attorney and a financial advisor can be valuable partners in the estate-planning process. SmartAsset can help you find a local advisor who suits your needs with our free advisor matching tool. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 If you're thinking about your estate planning strategy, odds are you've heard about creating a living trust. A living trust can protect your assets and make life easier for your heirs. Residents of New Hampshire may particularly benefit from using a living trust, due to the way the the state handles residents' estates after they die. Whether you’re thinking about forming a living trust or you simply have some financial planning questions, it might be worth working with a financial professional. SmartAsset's free advisor matching tool can help you find an advisor in your area who suits your specific needs. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 As you approach the  estate planning process, you have many tools at your disposal. One such tool is a living trust. By creating a living trust, you can protect your assets and property and save your family from having to go through probate following your death. The considerations surrounding the creation of a living trust depend in part on your state's laws. In this article, we'll explore how to create a living trust in Connecticut. Like any legal document, living trusts can be complex, so it might be helpful to work with an estate planning lawyer. A  financial advisor can work with your lawyer to ensure a living trust fits in with your overall financial plans. Read More...

Oct 03, 2019 A living trust can help you establish a solid estate plan and protect your assets after death. Every state has different estate and inheritance laws, but this guide will take a closer look at how to form a living trust in South Dakota and whether you need one. Whether it’s investing, retirement planning or estate planning, a financial advisor can help you meet your savings goals. If you’re having trouble finding one, SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can help you find the best advisor for your financial situation. Read More...

Oct 03, 2019 Estate planning allows you to take steps to ensure your assets are protected after your death or incapacitation. After you’ve accounted for any remaining taxes or bills, you can distribute property and assets to friends, loved ones or charitable organizations. One of the most common estate plans is living trusts. Living trusts allow you to transfer control of your assets to a trustee, who then transfers ownership of those assets to any beneficiaries you’ve selected. This article will look further into living trusts in Pennsylvania and whether you need one. If you’d like expert advice with forming your estate plan, SmartAsset’s free financial matching service can pair you with up to three local advisors suitable to your needs. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Estate planning is one of the best ways to ensure your assets are protected after you’ve died. You’ll have a range of options for legally distributing your assets following death or incapacitation, but one of the ways to do so is by opening a living trust. This article will explore the process of forming a living trust in Kansas, with a closer look at why you may or may not want to use one. If you’re new to estate planning and would like expert advice, a financial advisor could greatly simplify the process. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool pairs you with up to three local advisors within five minutes.  Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Leaving money behind for an heir can be nerve-racking, especially if they're new to managing money or have trouble controlling their spending. An estate planning tool that can help you in this situation is a spendthrift trust, which affords a trustee the power to determine how their beneficiary can use inherited funds. If used correctly, this type of trust will allow your assets to last so they can provide for your loved ones for decades. Trusts are complicated legal instruments, so it's usually a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney to create one. You should also consider working with a financial advisor who can build a holistic financial plan and help you find an attorney to handle the estate planning elements of the plan.  Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Estate planning is the part of financial planning that allows you to protect your assets after your death. You’ll have access to a range of options to ensure your assets are legally distributed to your desired heirs, but one of the best ways to do so is through a living trust. With a living trust you’ll be able to control how your assets are managed and distributed of as soon as you create it, not after you die. This article will take a closer look at the process of forming a living trust in Alaska and whether it’s right for you. If you’d like professional assistance in your estate planning process, you may want to consider hiring a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service pairs you with up to three local advisors within five minutes. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 If you're working on your estate plans, you may come across living trusts as a way to protect your assets so you can safely leave them for family and friends. The primary benefit of using a living trust instead of a will is that they can allow you to bypass the probate process. As probate rules differ considerably from state to state, though, the importance of avoiding probate will depend on where you live. This guide will walk Utah residents through the decision-making process; show the basics of creating a trust; and discuss related factors like taxes and other costs. Should you decide to move forward with a living trust, it would be wise to get an estate planning lawyer. It's also a good idea to work with a  financial advisor who can put together a financial plan and work with your attorney to incorporate your estate plan. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 A living trust is an  estate planning tool that can simplify the passing on of your assets to your family. Each state tends to have its own rules as to how you can set up your own living trust as a resident. So if you live in Virginia, our detailed guide will go over whether or not a living trust is right for your situation, how you can create one and the costs and taxes associated with doing so. While it's possible to set up a living trust and plan your estate yourself, it's a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor to get your finances and affairs in order. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Estate planning can take a lot of energy, and there are many options to consider when coming up with your directions for what will happen to your money and possessions after you’ve died. One option you have for making sure your assets are protected and your family cared for is to use a living trust. This article has information for anyone thinking of forming a living trust in Colorado, including a step-by-step guide to the process and a look at whether or not a living trust is a good choice for your situation. If you are just starting to go through your estate planning process, consider getting a financial advisor to help. SmartAsset has a free financial advisor matching service that can help you find the right financial advisor. We also have a list of the best financial advisors in Colorado. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 A Delaware living trust bypasses probate and can ensure that your assets and property transfer promptly to your loved ones after you die. The costs of setting up a living trust can be high, though, so the estate planning tool does not make sense for everyone. Read on to find out if it's the right option for you and to learn everything else you may be wondering about living trusts in Delaware. For more help with your estate planning, use  SmartAsset's matching tool to find a financial advisor near you. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Estate planning should be a part of everyone's financial plan, especially as you grow older. A living trust can serve as the centerpiece of your estate plans, as it helps simplify things for your family when you die. That's because, unlike a will, a living trust does not have to pass through the probate process, which can be long and complicated. In this article we'll walk through the basics of creating a living trust in the state of Alabama, though you might also consider consulting with a  financial professional or estate planning lawyer. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 A Nebraska living trust allows your heirs to receive your estate without the delay or interference of the court. A will, on the other hand, must go through probate before your estate can be distributed. But a Nebraska living trust isn't for everyone. Read on to find out who it does and doesn't make sense for. For more help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s  matching tool  to find a financial advisor near you.  Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 In the realm of estate planning, it's crucial to be proactive and to put a plan in place that takes care of your family. A great way to accomplish this is to create a living trust. If you live in Hawaii and you're weighing your estate planning options, a living trust just might be the best choice to protect your assets and your family. We'll walk through the details of creating a living trust in Hawaii, but if you'd like professional help, consider consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Contrary to public perception, trusts aren’t only for the wealthy. Indeed, anyone who owns property in Vermont and whose estate is worth more than $10,000 may want to set up a living trust to avoid probate. The court process can take six to 18 months if no litigation is involved. This article will help you decide whether a Vermont living trust makes sense for you. It will also tell you everything you want to know about the legal document. For large estates, you’ll probably also want a financial advisor’s help. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 After working so hard to build and manage your wealth, you’re not about to let it just scatter to your heirs without a plan. You want to steer it to them intact, which may include creating a living trust to avoid probate in Idaho. This article will help you decide whether a living trust makes sense for you and everything else you want to know about the legal document. For large estates, you’ll probably also want a financial advisor’s help. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Thinking about the best way to structure your estate may not be particularly enjoyable, but it's essential if you want to leave a financial legacy to your family. For many, a great way to streamline things is through the creation of a living trust. The primary benefit of choosing a living trust instead of just writing a will is that your family will be able to avoid probate altogether. Whether you’re in the process of creating a trust or any other type of financial plan, you might also benefit from talking to a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 After the years you put into building your wealth, you want to pass it on to your heirs intact - and ideally without the delay of the courts. For Kentuckians, setting up a living trust makes a lot of sense, since probate can be a costly and lengthy process in the state. Whether you are just contemplating the idea or have already decided to create a living trust, this article will explain everything you want to know. If your estate is sizable or otherwise tricky, a financial advisor’s guidance is essential. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Creating a living trust can be a great way to be proactive with your estate planning, giving you the means to protect your assets and make life easy for your family after you’ve died. But the rules governing the creation of these trusts vary from state to state. If you live in Nevada and are considering establishing a living trust, this guide will give you the information you need to set everything up. To help work your living trust in your financial plans, you might benefit from working with an estate planning attorney; you might also work with a financial advisor who can take a more holistic approach to your financial and estate plans. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you plan to leave a substantial amount of assets and property to your loved ones, an Indiana living trust can simplify the process. By transferring your assets to a living trust, you will enable your heirs to avoid the expense and time of probate. You can also leave instructions for when you want beneficiaries to receive your assets, in case you want them to reach a certain age first. A living trust is a key tool in estate planning, and below, we will answer all of your questions about creating a living trust in Indiana. For hands-on help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you’re planning for your estate after you die, you’re probably considering setting up a living trust. The legal document will enable your heirs to skip probate, which is considered a lengthy court process in Mississippi. Read on to determine if a living trust in Mississippi is truly the right move for you. For more help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s matching tool to find a financial advisor near you. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you have a loved one who deals with chronic illness or a disability of some kind, you want to be able to keep supporting them after you're gone. However, you don't want to disrupt their ability to collect funds from programs like Medicaid or Disability. In these situations, you can use a special needs trust. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 Estate planning is a process that allows you to protect your assets in the event of your incapacitation or death. One way to do so is by forming a living trust. Living trusts are legal documents that ensure your assets are given to any beneficiaries you select. This article explores the process of forming a living trust in Montana and whether you should create one. If you’d like expert guidance with estate planning, SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool pairs you with up to three local advisors suitable to your financial needs. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 Setting up a living trust in Missouri can help your heirs receive your estate promptly. It does this by avoiding probate, which can take some time in the state, since it has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code. We’ll tell you all you need to know about the key estate planning tool and how it works in Missouri. You can create one by yourself, though for large or otherwise tricky estates, you’ll probably want a financial advisor to guide you in transferring assets to the trust. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If your estate is worth more than $200,000, you should consider creating an Oklahoma living trust. This estate planning tool allows your heirs to receive your assets without waiting for probate, which takes longer in your state than the states that have adopted the Uniform Probate Code. In this article, we cover all the basics about living trusts in Oklahoma. For help with complex estates, consult a financial advisor. This matching tool will connect you with up to three advisors vetted by SmartAsset. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 It’s not only natural to be thinking about what will happen to your property after you die. It’s also smart. For Tennesseans who want to spare their heirs the time and expense of going through probate, transferring assets to a living trust makes a lot of sense, since probate can be a lengthy process in the state. Whether you are just contemplating the idea or have already decided to create a living trust, this article will explain everything you want to know. If your estate is sizable or otherwise complicated, you could probably use a financial advisor’s expertise. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Estate planning is a key part of ensuring that your assets are properly distributed after you've died. One of the many estate planning options available is to create a living trust in which you can put your assets and property. However the process for creating a living trust can vary from state to state, and Minnesota is no exception. If you're just starting the process of planning your estate, it can be helpful to talk to a financial advisor. SmartAsset's free tool can match you with advisors that fit your needs. Read More...

Aug 16, 2019 When someone passes away, their estate may have to go through the probate process. If they left a will, that document can be legally contested in probate court. There are several reasons why a will may be challenged. Understanding how the process works for contesting a will is important if you've been named as a beneficiary of someone's estate or you're concerned that your own will may someday become a subject of disagreement. Read More...

Mar 19, 2020   Creating an estate plan is an important step in managing wealth. This is especially true if you're married and want to leave assets to your spouse. A bypass trust could help your estate planning, depending on your financial goals. Understanding a bypass trust and its benefits may help you if it's right for your financial plan. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 If you love your grandchildren, you might want to make sure that when you die some of your estate goes past your own children and right to your grandchildren, giving them a nest egg on which to build their future. You also might want to give some money to your grandchildren to avoid having the money be subject to inheritance or estate taxes twice -- both times it passes down a generation. If this is true for you, it might make sense to get a generation-skipping trust, one of the cleanest ways to give money directly you your grandchildren without having that money go through their parents (your children) first. This alsoas a way to pay the estate or inheritance tax just once. As you navigate this complicated financial terrain, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Estate planning can be a time-intensive process as you determine how to divide ownership of property and other assets. Joint tenancy may be a focal point of your estate planning discussions if you're married or own property with someone else. Understanding the basics of how it works is essential for protecting your assets and wealth during your lifetime and beyond. Read More...

Oct 06, 2020 iiii An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can provide peace of mind as you start your estate planning process. If you have a sizable estate or young beneficiaries, an ILIT can provide control over a life insurance policy that a last will and testament may not. The "irrevocable" part of that trust means that its creator, or grantor, can't amend it once it's set up. Such a trust has its benefits, but there are variable to consider before setting it in stone. A financial advisor can help with all your trust needs and more. Consider finding one with SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jun 23, 2021 Dying may get you out of a lot of things, but not taxes. If you have a lot of property you want to leave to your children or other heirs, it may be subject to taxation. Federal estate taxes (and in a few states, state estate taxes) apply before your property is transferred. Some states also apply an inheritance tax, in which the beneficiary could also be taxed after the transfer is complete. Some people refer to estate and inheritance taxes as "death taxes." And if President Biden's proposed American Families Plan is enacted, that death tax will skyrocket for millions of Americans. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jun 28, 2019 A trustee is the individual appointed to administer assets or property for the benefit of a third party. A trustee could be appointed for the purpose of bankruptcy, a charity or certain kinds of retirement plans, but the most common is a trust. A trust is a legal agreement designed to control how an individual leaves an estate to their heirs. Many people choose to create trusts to protect the interest of their beneficiaries. Also, trusts help them avoid the costs of probate or working with the courts to transfer wealth. The owner of the trust, known as the grantor, must appoint a trustee to administer their wishes outlined in the trust. While it may seem like an honor to take on the role of a trustee, it comes with significant responsibilities. We’ve broken down what a trustee is, their responsibilities and duties, and how to appoint one. Read More...

Mar 24, 2020 An irrevocable trust can maintain your wishes after you die, but it will cost you some flexibility. While a last will and testament requires a probate court process to distribute your assets to heirs, most trusts avoid probate. However, your lifestyle and personal preferences will dictate whether an irrevocable trust or a revocable trust is best suited to your needs. Estate planning is a complex process. Find a financial advisor that can help you today. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Transfer on death (TOD) accounts can keep your estate planning intact while keeping your beneficiaries out of court. If you’re among the  57% of adults who don’t currently have a  will or  trust, your family is likely headed to probate court. Even estates with wills will likely need to go through  probate, which can burden your loved ones and create hostility between family members. A TOD account can avoid a legal mess by moving your assets without leaving them in your will. Read More...

May 29, 2019 By having a will in place when you pass away, you can detail how you want your affairs and assets to be handled. To ensure your will is valid, you'll need to crate a meticulous plan for how your possessions will be distributed once you pass. The sheer volume of possessions and assets you've accumulated during your life might make this seem rather daunting. Lucky for you, there are a number of websites that can help you get your will in order. Even if at the end of this you still have questions, perhaps you should contact a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 Complete  estate planning includes setting up a medical power of attorney. This legal document - also called a healthcare power of attorney or  durable power of attorney for healthcare - authorizes the person you designate to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated. Typically, this power encompasses choosing doctors, treatments and care facilities as your designee or agent thinks you would choose and following the directions in your living will. It also generally mandates doing what's in your best interest. Your agent should have a copy of your medical power of attorney, as should your doctors. Having this paperwork in place can give you peace of mind, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 A trust company is a legal entity that can serve as an agent or trustee on behalf of a trust.  They can be either stand-alone entities or divisions of commercial banks. If you're planning to use trusts as part of your estate planning process, a trust company can likely help by serving as trustee. They can also play a role in other aspects of your financial plan. Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 As you grow older, it's important to have a secure estate plan in place so you know your assets and family will be taken care of when you're gone. This involves drawing up plenty of legal paperwork, which is when hiring an estate planning attorney can be especially beneficial. These lawyers specialize in many areas of estate planning, including federal and state laws regarding wills, taxes, trusts and power of attorney. In addition, you may especially need a lawyer if someone is likely to contest your will or your estate is otherwise complex. That said, if your estate is large, you'll probably also want to hire a financial advisor who can help you manage all of your assets, investments and other finances. Read More...

Apr 04, 2019 In business, having the right people in leadership roles is arguably the most important factor for success. That means that when a top executive or star employee retires or leaves for another role, there needs to be a contingency plan in place to replace her quickly and seamlessly. This is akin to having a support network for your small business. Ideally, you'll be able to replace the departing employee with another employee who has the experience and institutional knowledge to step into the role. This process is known as succession planning. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Traditionally, the process of planning for the transfer of assets to your loved ones after your death is known as  estate planning. As you approach this process, you might also hear another term: Legacy planning. The terms are in many ways synonymous, with some financial professionals using the phrase as a "re-branding" of the more traditional terminology. However, some argue that legacy planning encompasses a greater breadth of planning and activities.  Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 A comprehensive  estate plan often includes writing a last will and testament to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. Once you've passed away, the executor of your will shepherds the will through the probate process. However, you may have things you'd like to communicate to your loved ones and beneficiaries that you don't want to include in the will itself. Often, these are informal instructions that will help your executor carry out your wishes. It might also include such informal elements as opinions about your funeral, the values you'd like to be remembered for or just a sentimental message to loved ones. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Medical issues bring about plenty of tough decisions about what treatments you do and don't want performed. Because you may be incapacitated in these situations, many people prepare ahead of time by creating  advance health care directives to record their wishes. In six states, you can record your wishes regarding life-sustaining measures in a uniform format using a medical order for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST) form. Using the MOLST form makes it easier to be sure that you're recording everything properly and complying with all the laws of your state. That way, you can rest easy knowing there won't be any hiccups when the time comes. Read More...

Mar 12, 2021 Having an estate plan in place can offer reassurance that your assets will be managed according to your wishes, both during your lifetime and after you pass away. While many people think of wills as the centerpiece of an estate plan, wills can be contested and have to go through a lengthy probate process. Instead, many people will use a trust to transfer assets to their loved ones. If you need to get your estate or inheritance sorted, a financial advisor can help you create an estate plan based on your needs and goals. Read More...

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