Pub. Date: January 2014
Country: United States
“Estate planning may be described as the process of providing for the future management of your affairs should the time come when you are unable to do so yourself. It is also the means by which you arrange your affairs in a manner that will maximize the value of your estate passing to your desired beneficiaries following your death.” [Extract from Estate Planning Essentials]
If you don't have a comprehensive estate plan, or indeed any plan at all, these are just some of the things that you should expect:
To help you easily understand the estate planning process, our lawyers have put together a plain English and easy to understand book on estate planning. It's called "Essential Estate Planning".
Essential Estate Planning is a must read for anyone who doesn’t already have a comprehensive estate plan. It will show you just why you need to have a comprehensive estate plan and how you can prepare one yourself.
You will be introduced to some of the ways in which you can plan your estate and the devices that you can use to do so such as last wills, living wills, living trusts, powers of attorneys, healthcare directives, probate free transfers of assets and so on. You will learn about the probate process, why people are so keen to avoid probate and lots of simple methods you can actually use to do so. You will learn about reducing estate taxes and how best to provide for young beneficiaries and children.
We’ll also talk to you about beneficiaries, children, disinheritance, incapacity, taxes, and much more. We will get you thinking about your own personal situation and how you would like to have your affairs organized – and by the end of the process, you will have a solid understanding of estate planning and the techniques involved.
We will show you how you can:-
Act Now - Take The Time To Make An Estate Plan - And Protect You, Your Family and Your Assets!!
AN INTRODUCTION TO ESTATE PLANNING
CHAPTER 1: ESTATE PLANNING BASICS
What is Estate Planning?
What’s Included in Your Estate?
How to Plan Your Estate
Do I Need to Plan My Estate?
Children and Guardians
Last Will and Testament
Revocable Living Trusts
Executors and Probate
Assets that Don’t go Through Probate
Planning for Incapacity – Power of Attorney for Finance and Property
Planning for Incapacity – Advance Healthcare Directives
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Reducing Taxes on Your Estate
CHAPTER 2: CHILDREN, GUARDIANS AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
What is a Guardian?
Sole and Joint Guardians
Appointment of a Guardian
Who Can be a Guardian?
Should You Appoint Guardians for Your Minor Children?
What to Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Your Child
What Happens When No Guardian is Named in Your Will?
Management of Children’s Property
Options for Property Management
Appointment of a Property Guardian
Uniform Transfer to Minors’ Act
Individual Child Trusts
Children’s Pot Trusts
Providing for Children with Special Needs
Whom Should You Choose as a Trustee?
CHAPTER 3: GIFTS AND BENEFICIARIES
Gifting Your Assets
How to Make a Gift
Types of Gifts
Specific Item Gifts
Cash Gifts (also known as monetary or pecuniary legacies)
Gift of the Residuary Estate
Types of Beneficiaries
Specific Gift Beneficiary
Who May Not be a Beneficiary?
Gifts to Spouses
Community Property States
Common Law States
Gifts to Minors
Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples
Gifts to Charities
Imposing Conditions on the Receipt of Gifts
Disinheriting a Spouse
Disinheriting a Child
Matters Affecting the Distribution of Your Assets
Family Allowance for Support
The Exemption for the Benefit of the Family
Right to Remain in the Family Home
Right to Receive Family Residence
Right to Automobiles
Right to Reimbursement of Funeral Costs
Abatement of Assets
Finalizing Your Plan
Lawsuits by Spouses
Disinheriting Your Children
CHAPTER 4: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
Principal Components of a Will
Types of wills
Making a Valid Will
Age of Majority
Mental Capacity and Undue Influence
Why Make a Will?
Overview of Executors’ Duties
Who Should be Your Executor?
Executing a Will
Matters that can Impact Wills
No Contest Clauses
Challenging a Will
Apportionment and Distribution of Assets on Intestacy
Share of Surviving Spouse
Share of Descendents
Share of Parents
Share of Other Relatives
Do I Need a Lawyer
CHAPTER 5: EXECUTORS & PROBATE
What is an Executor?
What is Probate?
Who can be Your Executor?
An Overview of an Executor’s Duties, Powers and Risks
Powers of an Executor
Protecting Your Executor from Liability
Protection Under the Terms of Your Will
Obtain the Consent of Beneficiaries
Take out an Executor’s Insurance Bond
Obtain the Consent of the Probate Court
Compensating Your Executor
CHAPTER 6: POWER OF ATTORNEY
What is a Power of Attorney?
Types of Powers of Attorney
General Power of Attorney
Limited Power of Attorney
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Ordinary and Durable Powers of Attorney
Springing Powers of Attorney
Mutual Powers of Attorney
Cascading Powers of Attorney
Capacity to Make a Power of Attorney
What Does “being incapable or incapacitated” Mean?
Should I Make a Power of Attorney?
What Happens Without a Power of Attorney?
What if You Don’t Think You Need a Power of Attorney?
The Relationship Between Principal and Agent
Who Can be an Agent?
Joint or Joint and Independent Agents
Scope of an Agent’s Powers
Duties and Responsibilities of an Agent
Choosing an Agent
What Laws Govern My Power of Attorney?
Witness to a Power of Attorney
Commencement of a Power of Attorney
Revocation of a Power of Attorney
Important Points & Recommendation
Chapter 7: Advance Medical Directives
What is an Advance Medical Directive?
Why do I Need an Advance Medical Directive?
Living Wills and Their Background
How Living Wills Work
What is a Terminal Condition?
What is a Persistent Comatose Condition?
What is a Persistent Vegetative Condition?
What Life Support Choices Do I Have Within My Living Will?
Should I Make a Living Will?
State Requirements for Life Sustaining Medical Treatment
Appointing an Agent to Revoke or Enforce Your Living Will
Finalizing Your Living Will
Terminating Advance Directives
Making Your Wishes Known - Legal Vaults™ Wallet Cards
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Choosing a Healthcare Agent
Alternate Healthcare Agent
Do I Need a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will?
CHAPTER 8: PROBATE AVOIDANCE MEASURES
Pay on Death or Transfer on Death Accounts
Transfer on death securities
Life Insurance Proceeds
Joint Ownership of Property
Tenancy by the Entireties
Tenancy in Common
Revocable Living Trust
Gifts During Your Lifetime
Probate Free Transfers of Assets
Simplified Transfer Procedures for “Small Estates”
CHAPTER 9: REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS
What are Living Trusts?
Advantages of Living Trusts
Disadvantages of Living Trusts
The Role of the Initial Trustee
Appointing a Co-Trustee
The Role of the Successor Trustee
Role of Successor Trustee During the Incapacity of the Grantor
Role of Successor Trustee Following the Death of the Grantor
Fiduciary Duties of the Successor Trustee
The Beneficiaries of Your Living Trust
Types of Living Trust
Living Trust for an Individual
Living Trusts for Couples
Transferring Assets to Your Living Trust
What Assets Should be Put in Your Living Trust?
Title to Assets Transferred to a Living Trust
Transferring Property to Your Trust
Cars, Boats and Other Vehicles
United States Savings Bonds
Publicly Quoted Stocks and Bonds
Revocation of your Living Trust
CHAPTER 10: ESTATE TAXES
Federal Estate and Gift Tax
What is the “Coupon” Amount?
How to Determine the Estate Tax?
State Death Tax
State Death Taxes are Paid by the Estate
The Recipient Pays State Inheritance Taxes
Charitable Remainder Trust
Charitable Lead Trust
Other Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
Family Limited Partnerships
Special Use Real Estate Valuation
CHAPTER 11: FINALIZING YOUR PLAN
Deciding What Should be in Your Estate Plan
Management of Your Property and Finances During Incapacity
Making Healthcare Decisions During Incapacity
Appoint Guardians for Your Children
Assemble a List of Your Assets and Liabilities
Decide Who Will Receive Your Assets
Decide How and When Your Beneficiaries Will Receive Your Assets
Choosing People to Be in Charge
When to Do-it-Yourself and When to Include Lawyers
Storing Your Documents
Updating Your Estate Plan
The following forms are included with this book:-
Estate Planning Worksheet