Integrating Your Estate Plan to the Larger Perspective

  • Estate planning will help you pass more of your assets to your loved ones rather than to the government and the legal system, thereby helping ease the strain on your family with as few legal hurdles as possible. Your family can avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process

    A well drafted estate plan can minimize or eliminate estate taxes and will keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible.  It can insure that your property is distributed according to your wishes and that your health care choices are honored.  With the proper coordination of documents you can control the amount and timing of distributions even years after death.

    A good estate plan provides for loved ones in your absence and appoints a personal guardian to care for your minor children, if any.  This enables you to designate the best available person to care for your minor children after your death; otherwise, a court will appoint a guardian for them without your input.

    The special needs of minor children and loved ones can be provided for as well.  Special provisions can be adopted to provide for those who would have trouble managing a large lump sum of cash on their own, or any other assets.

    Estate planning is more comprehensive than simply preparing a will or a basic trust.  It involves an overall integration plan of how your personal and real property should be handled, both during your lifetime and after your death.  It should include your choices concerning health care decisions in the event that you become unable to make those decisions for yourself.

    A well drafted estate plan should make provisions for your care and comfort during your lifetime.  It should also have a plan in case of incapacity, in order to mitigate the hardships caused by long-term illness or mental incompetence, should that occur.

    A Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs and Advanced Healthcare Directives with the necessary HIPPA provisions are essential in this regard. You can also make provisions for your funeral arrangements if you would like.

    If you own a business, you can provide for an orderly succession and continuation of its affairs by spelling out what will happen to your interest in the business.  It is important that your estate plan correlate with your business Buy-Sell Agreement.

    And of course your estate plan can provide for your favorite cause, such as providing gifts to support religious, educational, and other charitable work; either during your lifetime or upon your death; thereby taking advantage of tax laws designed to encourage private philanthropy.

    At Incompass, we work with our attorneys to integrate the mechanisms of your estate plan with your real estate holdings, your business plan (if applicable) and your tax situation.  Your integrated plan can maximize your estate exemptions and implement planned gifting strategies.  Your plan can also be structured in such a way to allow discount valuations on your real estate holdings and business assets.  A good plan can provide all of these tax saving benefits, and at the same time, eliminate probate costs, while providing additional protection for your assets

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