Estate Planning Basics to Address in 2017
If you die without a will in a state like Georgia, what assets go to your spouse depends on whether or not you have living children. According to The (Dunwoody GA) Crier in, “Estate planning basics 2017,” your living descendants share in the property equally with the spouse, whose share can’t be less than a third. If you have no will, and have children from a prior marriage, you may be putting your spouse and your kids at odds with each other. This differs in Florida as it depends if you and your spouse have children not of the marriage.
If you don’t have a will, the state will make those decisions for you. The provisions may be less than ideal. When it comes to property disposition, a will is just a piece of an estate plan. If you own assets jointly with another person, such as joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS), the property passes outside of a will or probate directly to the survivor. The same is true for a Payable on Death (POD) designation.
Beneficiary designations on retirement plans like 401(k) plans, IRA accounts, and life insurance, also pass assets directly to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries. The disposition of assets held in a trust are governed by trust provisions.
If you died today, are you sure your assets would pass according to your wishes? Is your estate plan tax efficient? If you own a business, do you have a succession plan to maximize value to your heirs and surviving business partners? Succession planning for a closely-held business is a structured plan to transfer ownership, control and management of the business.
Your 18-year-old is off to college. She’s now an adult. If she had a terrible accident and was hospitalized, her parents, under privacy laws, can’t get any medical information on their adult child. Without a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, appointing mom or dad as decision maker, you’re powerless. If you’re responsible for a young adult, you need to have powers of attorney for assets and health care in place for your adult child.
The first part of the year is a good time to take care of the basics for your estate plan. If you don’t have a list of assets, accounts and real property, create one to make managing your assets easier for you and your heirs. Add a review of your estate plan to your to-do list: every four years or whenever you experience a major life change, you should have the estate plan reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney. You should also remember to check your beneficiary designations and consider doing a risk management audit to be sure you have the correct insurance in place.
Do you live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties in Florida? Laws are constantly changing-- has your estate plan been reviewed in the last 2-3 years? Call me (954-888-1747) right away for peace of mind. I can help!
- My practice is exclusively estate planning and probate,
- I have prepared numerous estate plans in 16 years of practice,
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- I am a Certified Financial Planner Professional™, and
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Reference: The (Dunwoody GA) Crier (January 31, 2017) “Estate planning basics 2017”