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Estate Planning Overview

Although everyone should have an Estate Plan, it becomes more important in retirement.  This is the time to make sure that any assets that you've accumulated while working and any assets left over from retirement are transferred to people or organizations of your choosing, rather than the IRS.

The purpose of Estate Planning can be summarized as follows:

  • To preserve the maximum amount of flexibility and wealth possible for intended beneficiaries.

  • To provide for the effective and efficient transfer of wealth to beneficiaries

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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An Estate Plan consists of the following documents:

  • Last Will & Testament – Provides a blueprint for distributing owned assets to beneficiaries upon your death.  At death, wills are presented to the court where they are recorded and an executor is appointed through the probate process.

  • Trusts – A legal arrangement in which property is transferred to a trustee who manages it for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

  • Durable Power of Attorney – A document in which another person is designated to perform certain acts, such as managing your financial affairs on your behalf, when you are unable to do so.

  • Health Care Proxy/Living Will – Designates someone to make a broad range of health-related decisions for you when you are not personally able to give informed consent.

Following is a list of those participating in your Estate Plan and responsible for assuring that it is executed according to your wishes:

  • Grantor – The name of the person selling, giving or otherwise disposing of land or some other asset.  Grantors transfer their assets to the Trust.

  • Trustee – Holds legal title of Trust property on behalf of the beneficiaries.  The trustee is the representative of the trust and is entrusted with the administration of the trust property.

  • Beneficiary – The person or persons who are entitled to the benefit of a will or trust arrangement.  The beneficiaries receive the assets from an estate upon death of the estate owner.

  • Personal Representative – The generic term for an executor for the estate of a deceased person who left a will or trust.