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Estate Planning

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Bypassing Probate with Beneficiary Designations

You may be able to meet your estate planning goals very simply through the proper use of beneficiary designations. You’re likely familiar with beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, 401 [more…]

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust is a legal document created by you (the grantor) during your lifetime. Just like a will, a living trust spells out exactly what your desires are with regard to your assets, your dependents [more…]

Going Beyond a Will: Other Estate-Planning Documents You Need

Even with all your assets properly titled, your beneficiary designations in order, and a will or revocable living trust in place, you still have a few very important issues to take care of and documents [more…]

How Financial Advisors Get Paid

When choosing a financial advisor, it helps to understand how your advisor gets paid because those who live off commissions may have different goals than advisors who work on salary. All people in the [more…]

How to Select a Personal Financial Advisor

Savvy consumers interview a few different financial advisors to learn more about each one’s background, experience, specialties, and target clientele, as well as his or her listening skills and communication [more…]

Will and Trust Items to Keep Track Of

You’ve gone to the necessary trouble of drawing up your will and perhaps creating a trust. Now you need to make a list of the locations of important papers and make sure that you and at least one other [more…]

People Who Can Help with Your Estate Plan

The professionals who help you set up your will and trusts can be useful not only during the creation of these documents, but also later on if you want to make changes. They can be invaluable resources [more…]

When to Review Your Estate Plan

You should review your estate plan, including your will and any trusts, on a periodic basis to be sure that your inheritance planning is consistent with your needs and goals. In addition, review your estate [more…]

How to Prepare for a Meeting with an Estate Planning Lawyer

You want your will and trust to be legal, so it makes sense to meet with a lawyer to form your estate plan. Lawyers who specialize in estate planning can help you cover all contingencies and help make [more…]

How to Plan for Incapacity in Your Will and Trust

It’s not easy to think about, but your will and trust(s) need to include provisions that go into effect if you become incapacitated for any reason. Your executor and your heirs will be grateful for your [more…]

Wills & Trusts Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Taking the time and attention to write a will and set up a trust — or a couple of trusts — are acts of generosity that your heirs and loved ones will appreciate in their time of grief. To do it right, [more…]

What Your Family and Executor Will Need to Know

You’ve considered your family and loved ones by drafting a will and creating an estate plan, so make sure they’ll be able to take advantage of all your careful planning! Do they know that you have a will [more…]

Why Every Canadian Should Have a Will and Estate Plan

Why do you need a will and an estate plan? It may not be fun to think about, but after you’re gone you won't have a say in some pretty important matters unless you let your wishes be known. Who will take [more…]

Top Tips for Reducing Estate Taxes in Canada

Though Canada doesn’t have any “death taxes,” taxes on your estate, including your Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Retirement Income Funds [more…]

Wills & Estate Planning For Canadians For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Worried about what will happen to your assets after you pass away? These articles will help you plan for your future with tips on how to reduce your estate taxes, helpful information on whether or not [more…]

Does the Estate Need a Special Administrator?

A special administrator is a temporary fiduciary appointed by the probate court in many states to marshal and preserve the assets when a delay is foreseen in appointing a permanent fiduciary. This may [more…]

Does an Estate Need Ancillary Administration?

An estate requires ancillary administration if it has real estate subject to probate located in a state other than the decedent’s state of domicile. As executor of such an estate, you must have ancillary [more…]

Does an Estate Need a Guardian?

In some cases the probate court appoints a guardian for an estate’s heir to take care of the heir’s affairs and manage his or her assets. A common case is one where the decedent has died and the heir is [more…]

How to Decide between Voluntary Administration and Formal Probate

After you determine that an estate includes probate assets, you must decide whether you need the formal probate process to administer the estate or if voluntary administration is available to you. Voluntary [more…]

How to Petition for Probate of a Will

To start the probate process, you will need to petition for probate of the will. These guidelines can vary state by state. However, generally, the first step is to file the decedent’s will in the probate [more…]

Who Can Petition for Estate Administration when No Will Exists?

If the estate’s decedent dies intestate, without a valid will, you may need to file a petition to serve as administrator. Check the law in the state of the decedent’s estate to determine what type of estate [more…]

How to Collect a Decedent's Employee Benefits

The estate’s executor is responsible for collecting any employee benefits, or death benefits for which the decedent may be eligible. These may include retirement accounts, continued COBRA health benefits [more…]

How to Determine All Death Benefits for a Decedent

The executor of an estate should note any death benefits, other than employment and insurance benefits, found in the decedent’s records and contact the appropriate authorities. Ask the Social Security [more…]

How to Distribute a Decedent’s Assets

As the estate’s administrator, you’re responsible for distributing the decedent’s property if he or she bequeaths specific assets to beneficiaries. Before you distribute the assets, you should review the [more…]

How to Distribute a Decedent’s Personal and Household Property

Distributing a decedent’s personal and household property is frequently a challenging part of estate administration. Whether the estate is large or small, heirs are often passionate about the personal [more…]

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