While next year’s tax season is several months away, it tends to brings out the chance to save money in everyone. Savings, in this regard, means figuring out ways to reduce one’s taxable income so that a chance at an income tax refund can be realized. Having a refund check is especially important for the elderly, because it is likely the largest individual check to be received all year.
When people think about a “fair” division of assets in the context of an estate plan, they may believe that each beneficiary must receive an equal, proportionate share of what is left. However, this may not always be the case. More importantly, it may not be appropriate for the respective beneficiaries.
Having a will is just the beginning of what makes a will important. Many people go without a will -- it's true. But these grantors often lack the legal protections that they would actually want, and their beneficiaries (and their entire estate) can suffer as a result of it. Dying intestate (which means to die without a will) leaves your estate up to state laws and the normal probate process. Having a will is crucial.
When it comes to the topic of estate planning, there is inevitably one thing that grantors and beneficiaries will worry about: probate. This is the legal process of actually handling and executing the estate in court. That may sound safe and proper -- but it is also costly and time-consuming. It can leave beneficiaries with less than they desired and it can even cause personal divisions between family members.
When you acquire assets over the course of a lifetime, you pay taxes at the time you earn or purchase those assets. However, when you die, if you have a substantial amount to leave to your heirs, they could face additional taxes on your assets.
Who thinks about tax season in July? The answer is likely no one outside of an accountant’s or tax attorney’s office. But the confusion over how to complete tax forms may not go away for executors tasked with administering an estate. Obscure and dense tax forms can be vexing; especially for those who do not regularly deal with them.
The creation of an estate plan should never be “one and done.” Taking proactive steps in protecting your assets is vital. The one thing you can count on about life is that it will change after the documents are signed.
A second marriage is a time for a new beginning. Even so, many individuals who remarry are likely to bring children from a prior marriage to the relationship, as well as financial obligations. These factors can complicate estate planning and what happens to your assets and property after your death. This is a time to enjoy your new marriage, but also a time to be responsible when it comes to estate planning.
A slight majority of Americans have not drafted their wills, according to a 2016 Gallup poll that put the number at 56 percent. While it shows an uptick from a Harris Poll in 2015 at 64 percent, over half do not have the formal document. Even more alarming, financial professionals claim that a number of those wills are old and likely outdated.
The last thing expectant spouses expect while anticipating the birth of their child is planning that goes beyond the décor of the nursery. However, taking proactive steps can help lessen the impact of increased expenses and plan for a financially secure future.