Estate Planning and Why It’s Really So Important
People like David and Abby often overlook estate planning because they tend to believe in two myths: estate planning is all about taxes; and estate planning is only for older or sick people. The main objectives of estate planning are welfare planning, income continuity, orderly distribution of estate property, tax mitigation, asset protection, beneficiary security, and philanthropy. The essentials of effective estate planning include addressing the need for: powers of attorney;living wills and healthcare proxies;HIPAA authorizations; insurance; proper titling of assets and beneficiary designations; lifetime gifts; wills;and trusts. Taxes must also be considered, including the estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping-transfer (GST) tax. Select estate-planning strategies and a sample plan to mitigate these taxes and achieve other goals are explored.