Estate planning is the process of making a plan from today until your death, and if done correctly, makes plans that can benefit your heirs long after your death.
Many people mistakenly believe estate planning only involves having a will drafted by a Philadelphia estate planning attorney. While having a will is an important step, a will by itself might not be able to address all of your unique tax and family issues. A proper estate plan involves an examination of your family, any other persons or charities that you may want to benefit at your death, as well as all your assets.
Depending on what your assets are and their value, to provide the care you want for your family and to reduce taxes substantially, you may choose to involve several professionals besides your estate planning lawyer. You may need the advice of life insurance professionals, financial advisors, real estate managers and specialists with long-term care insurance. A proper estate plan will examine your plans for the rest of your life, including your retirement, and the tax ramifications of your death.
Besides a will, other options that are commonly part of an estate plan include an irrevocable life insurance trust, a revocable living trust, or an asset protection trust. Within the will itself you might use disclaimer trusts or dynasty trusts to provide protection for your spouse and children.
Though developing an estate plan might seem a daunting task, I find that once the plan is completed and in place most people fee a great sense of relief. It is a job that you know needs be done, but I understand that talking about death and taxes is likely not your idea of a good time. By working with you through this uncomfortable subject there is a good chance that at the end taxes will be avoided, retirement plans maximized and protection is put in place for your spouse and creditors. The end justifies addressing what can be an uncomfortable subject.
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