Few estate planning subjects are as misunderstood as probate. But circumventing the probate process is usually a good idea, and several tools are available to help you do just that. Why should you avoid it?
Portability helps minimize federal gift and estate tax by allowing a surviving spouse to use a deceased spouse’s unused gift and estate tax exemption amount. Currently, the exemption is $12.92 million, but it’s scheduled to return to an inflation-adjusted $5 million on January 1, 2026.
For years, life insurance has played a critical role in estate planning, providing a source of liquidity to pay estate taxes and other expenses.
The need for a will as a key component of your estate plan may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people — even affluent individuals — who don’t have one.
There’s a common misconception that only married couples with children need estate plans. In fact, estate planning may be even more important for single people without children. Why?
When a loved one passes away, you might think that the options for his or her estate plan have also been laid to rest. But that isn’t necessarily the case.
When it comes to estate planning, your ultimate goal likely is to provide for your family after your death. To achieve this goal, consider placing assets in an irrevocable trust to protect against creditors and drafting a will to clearly state who gets what.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you may have accumulated hundreds of thousands or even millions of frequent flyer miles. The value of these miles may be significant, so it’s important to determine whether you can include them in your estate plan and share them with your loved ones.
Much of estate planning focuses on transferring your wealth to loved ones in a tax-efficient manner. But for some people, it’s equally important to protect that wealth against frivolous lawsuits or baseless creditors’ claims.
If you’ve been asked to serve as executor of the estate of a friend or family member, be sure you understand the responsibilities and potential risks before you agree.