Estate and Retirement Planning

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The material presented may contain concepts that have legal, accounting and tax implications. It is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice, you may wish to consult a competent attorney, tax advisor, or accountant.
Wills Provide

  • a description of your assets.
  • for the distribution of your assets to your heirs.
  • an executor.
  • a guardian for your children

Executor is appointed to administer the estate. That someone could be an individual close to the deceased, a bank or trust.
Probate is a legal process where your executor goes before a court and identifies the property in the estate, has the assets appraised, pays all debts and taxes, proves the will is valid, and distributes the assets according to the will.
The Federal
Estate Tax, is tax on the right to transfer property at death. Property transferred at death from one spouse to another is excluded from estate taxes.
An individual can gift any number of other individuals $12,000 each year without incurring a transfer tax. Each person is allowed a lifetime credit. The federal estate tax continues with increasing unified credits and decreasing top estate tax rates, until 2010. 2001 federal estate tax rules will be reinstated in 2011, but with a $1 million exemption equivalent.
Trust is the holding of property and the equitable management of that property by one person (a trustee) for another person (a beneficiary). The person who transfers property into a trust is called a grantor. A Living Trust is called a Living Trust simply because it is created while you are alive. In most Living Trusts the grantors (Husband and Wife) are also the trustees.
Living Trusts avoid probate, keeps the details of the estate private, gives the grantors full control of their assets while they are alive and competent, allows assets to be distributed quickly upon death.
Life Insurance can provide much needed cash to pay for fees and taxes and also allow for an easier distribution of all assets because proceeds are passed to the beneficiary income tax free.
Life insurance proceeds add to the value of the estate and therefore are subject to estate taxes. This can be avoided by having the children of the insured  own the policy or create an irrevocable life insurance trust.
As an employer you want to encourage your staff to prepare a 
Retirement Plan There are many ways that you can provide opportunities to help them and yourself save for retirement.


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