Estate Planning

Will vs. Trust: Is One Better Than the Other?

When it comes to planning your estate, you might be wondering whether you should use a will or a trust (or both). Understanding the similarities and the differences between these two important documents may help you decide which strategy is better for you.

What is a will?

Estate Planning Strategies in a Low-Interest-Rate Environment

The federal government requires the use of certain published interest rates to value various items used in estate planning, such as an income, annuity, or remainder interest in a trust. The government also specifies interest rates that a taxpayer may be deemed to use in connection with certain installment sales or intra-family loans.

Periodic Review of Your Estate Plan

An estate plan is a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in the event of your incapacity or death. It allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. An estate plan should be reviewed periodically.

When should you review your estate plan?

What to Consider when Gifting Assets

During the holiday season, the subject of gifts seems to be on everyone’s mind. But not all gifts are simple and straightforward to give. Some require specialized planning and have potential tax consequences you should be prepared for.

Gift Tax Basics

What do I need to do to create a will?

A will is a legal document that is generally used to describe how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. It might also be used to name an executor for your estate or a guardian for your minor children. It is generally a good practice to name backup beneficiaries, executors, and guardians just in case they are needed.

2015 Year-End Tax Planning Basics

As the end of the 2015 tax year approaches, set aside some time to evaluate your situation and consider potential opportunities. Effective year-end planning depends on a good understanding of both your current circumstances and how those circumstances might change next year.

Basic strategies

Estate Planning 101

Prepaid Funeral Arrangements Can Have Grave Consequences

An important part of estate planning involves consideration of funeral or memorial arrangements, including paying for some or all of the costs in advance. Planning ahead not only spares your survivors from the stress of making these decisions, but prepaying for your services relieves your survivors from the burden of worrying about money during an otherwise difficult time.

Planned Charitable Giving

Today more than ever, charitable institutions stand to benefit as the first wave of baby boomers reach the stage where they're able to make significant charitable gifts. If you're like many Americans, you too may have considered donating to charity. And though writing a check at year-end is one of the most common ways to give to charity, planned giving may be even more effective.

Avoiding Probate: Is It Worth It?

When you die, your estate goes through a process that manages, settles, and distributes your property according to the terms of your will. This process is governed by state law and is called probate.

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