Common questions about estate planning

Find answers on a range of topics – from probate and types of trust to how to select a trustee.
By: Edward Jones
DEWITT, Mich. - Oct. 25, 2021 - PRLog -- General estate questions

What makes up my estate?

Your estate consists of all the assets you possess at the time of your death. These assets could include:
  • Securities
  • Real estate
  • Interest in a business
  • Personal property
  • Cash
  • Retirement plans and IRAs
  • Life insurance death benefits

Who needs estate planning?

You work hard and carefully plan to meet your long-term financial objectives, such as financing an education, providing for your children and saving for retirement. However, many people put off estate planning or choose to ignore it altogether. Almost everyone needs some form of estate planning, especially those who:
  • Want their estate distributed after their death according to their wishes and not statutory guidelines
  • Have assets that will make them susceptible to high estate taxes
  • Want planned distributions for the benefit of descendants
  • Have heirs who may need responsible financial assistance after their passing

What makes up a well-designed estate plan?

A well-designed plan:
  • Preserves the value of your assets
  • Reduces unnecessary taxes and expenses
  • Ensures your heirs receive what you intended them to receive
  • Manages your assets for you and your heirs in the event of disability or incapacitation
  • Protects your privacy

If I have a living trust, do I still need a will?

You may still need a will to capture any assets that may not have been transferred to the trust during your life. A "Pour-Over Will" will transfer assets to your trust. Once you establish a living trust, you must remember to transfer your assets into the trust. Assets that are not in your trust, that do not have beneficiary designations or are not jointly titled with another individual may still be subject to probate.

Probate questions

What is probate?

The probate process includes:
  • Validation of wills
  • Payment to creditors
  • Distribution of assets to heirs according to terms of the will
  • A third-party mediator to settle disputes

Is probate a concern only for those with large estates?

Although some states have adopted simplified procedures that reduce the costs and time delays for small estates, probate applies to all wills regardless of the size of the estate. In addition, probate is usually necessary when an individual dies without a will (intestate).

What is a trust?

A trust is an estate planning tool that specifies how you would like your assets to be managed and distributed to your beneficiaries. It is a legal document that names an individual or institution to manage the assets placed in the trust. When you die or become incapacitated, the trustee can immediately manage the trust to ensure your spouse and dependents are cared for.

Edward Jones - Mae Luchetti
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Tags:Estate Planning
Location:Dewitt - Michigan - United States
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