Financial Education

Spotlight: Estate Planning Basics

An effective estate plan can help you achieve important goals like maintaining your privacy, protecting your legacy, minimizing taxes and providing ongoing guidance.

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A document that lets you communicate your intentions for your assets and the care of your minor children after you die.

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A legal document that lets you transfer assets, via a third-party trustee.

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Estate Tax

An amount that your estate may owe the government.

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Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts

The differences between trust types matter for tax and estate planning reasons.

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Dive Deeper

Learn More About Our Essentials Curriculum

This curriculum – which can be customized to your family’s unique objectives – empowers the next generation to responsibly steward family wealth. Each month we will spotlight a topic from our Essentials curriculum.

Did you know?

  • 2 out of 3 adults do not have a will.

    • While it can be unpleasant to think about, creating a will can save your loved ones from added emotional stress.

  • Estate planning should accompany each transition into a new life stage.

    • You should not try to do all your long-term planning at once. It makes sense to take things step-by-step.

  • Your estate plan should include lifetime strategies.

    • For managing health-related issues as well as minimizing taxes, planning for inherited assets and charitable giving.

  • Your estate plan should include contingency plans.

    • To help prepare for various “what if” scenarios to protect your health and assets in case you are disabled or incapacitated.

  • Your estate plan should include legacy plans.

    • To direct what will happen to your assets upon your death.

  • A trust is a form of ownership that separates the title and the control of an asset.

    • A written trust document transfers ownership of specific assets to a trust and provides direction about who will benefit.

  • Transfer taxes are federal (and sometimes state) taxes assessed on the transfer of wealth.

    • Gift taxes are due on transfers made during a giver’s lifetime. Estate taxes are assessed on transfers at death.

  • Beneficiary designations take precedence over wills.

    • Life insurance and retirement accounts pass directly to named beneficiaries. It is important to keep beneficiary designations up-to-date.

Wills vs. Living Trusts

What You Will Learn in a Customized Session

  • How to establish wills and living trusts, property or financial powers of attorney, health care power of attorney, and the proper way of naming a guardian and successor guardians for any minor children

  • The fundamentals of trusts: roles and responsibilities of settlors, trustees and beneficiaries, and how different distribution terms and standards work

  • The basics of estate planning and why it matters

  • Tactical steps for identifying your goals and documenting your assets

  • How transfer taxes work, including gift tax, estate tax and generation-skipping tax

  • Ways you can work with your team of trusted advisors to plan for the future

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This information is not intended to be and should not be treated as legal, investment, accounting or tax advice and is for informational purposes only. Readers, including professionals, should under no circumstances rely upon this information as a substitute for their own research or for obtaining specific legal, accounting or tax advice from their own counsel. All information discussed herein is current only as of the date appearing in this material and is subject to change at any time without notice.

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