5 Estate Planning Options

The area of estate planning is something that everyone will need to deal with at some point. In order to make sure that your estate is handled properly, you need to take the proper steps along the way. Here are a few different options that you should consider when engaging in estate planning.

1. Will

The will is one of the most basic estate planning tools that you can use. Creating a will is fairly simple compared to some of the other options that you have. You can utilize the services of an attorney for this process or you can do it yourself. If you want to make sure that the will is going to stand up in probate court, you might want to hire an attorney. With a will, you can specify who is going to get all of your possessions. If you have children, you can also use a will to name who their guardians will be if you pass away. When it comes to estate planning, this is going to be one of the least expensive options to set up as well.

2. Trust

The trust is another option that you have when it comes to estate planning. There are many different types of trusts that you could potentially use. In order to set up a trust, you are going to need to hire an estate planning attorney. They will be able to walk you through the process and make sure that the trust is legitimate. Setting up a trust is going to be approximately 3 to 5 times more than using a will. With the trust, you will be able to put any assets that you want into it. You will also be able to continue utilizing the assets or the income that is created from these assets while you are still alive. With the trust, you can also specify when the assets will be distributed after your death. This makes a good option if you have a sizable estate that you want to convey slowly to your beneficiaries.

3. Inter Vivos Gifts

Inter Vivos gifts are another option that you have when it comes to estate planning. This is a technique that you can use to give part of your estate away while you are still alive. By doing this, you will be able to reduce the amount of your estate and potentially get under the estate tax allowance when you die. Currently, you can give as much as $13,000 as an individual or $26,000 as a married couple per year.

4. Non-Probate Assets

Certain assets do not have to go through probate when you die. These things include life insurance policies, retirement accounts and titles that have a beneficiary's name on them.

5. Intestate Succession

Intestate succession is a term that refers to how assets will be distributed for an individual that does not have a will or any other estate planning tools. When this happens, the state judicial system is going to decide how to distribute the assets of the individual.

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