Estate Planning

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Insurance, Crummey, and Grantor-Retained Interest Trusts

Insurance trusts, Crummey trusts, and grantor-retained interest trusts can solve issues that arise with an estate. Insurance trusts ensure that an estate meets its cash needs. [more…]

What Are Grandchildren’s Trusts?

In most respects, grandchildren’s trusts are just like the type of trust a grantor might create for his or her children. One unique quality of grandchildren’s trusts is that transfers made into these trusts [more…]

What Are Credit Shelter Trusts?

The credit shelter trust is a trust that holds an amount of assets from a decedent’s estate that is equal to the portion of allowable tax-free transfer that the decedent didn’t use during his or her lifetime [more…]

Revocable Trusts: Living, Totten, and Nominee

Living trusts, Totten trusts, and nominee trusts are the main types of revocable trusts. They can be revoked, amended, or terminated by the trust grantor, the person who creates the trust, any time before [more…]

What Are Grantor Trusts and Non-Grantor Trusts?

Grantor trusts and non-grantor trusts are the two main types of funded trusts, trusts that hold assets. The type of trust you’re administering determines whether you must file Form 1041 for the trust, [more…]

How to Deduct Administration Expenses for a Decedent, Estate, or Trust

When filing Form 1040 or Form 1041 for a decedent, estate, or trust, you must determine how to deduct administration fees. Deductions for attorney, accountant, and preparer fees are limited on Schedule [more…]

Charitable Deductions for a Decedent, Estate, or Trust

An estate administrator can only give money from an estate or trust to charity if the decedent’s will (or the trust instrument) explicitly instructs it. Because this rule is absolute, charitable deductions [more…]

How to File an Estate Trust’s Financial Records

As trustee, you should keep accurate and organized records of the trust’s financial records you receive from banks, brokerages, or other sources. The trust instrument or a request from a beneficiary may [more…]

How to Compile a Trust’s Correspondence

As a trust administrator, it is essential that you keep careful records of all correspondence that you send and receive. Send required trust documents by certified mail and keep all receipts. Also be sure [more…]

How to Pay Remaindermen when Terminating a Trust

When terminating a trust, any assets left after the final income distributions and the payment of all necessary expenses go to the remaindermen. Remaindermen are individuals or organizations named by the [more…]

How to Plan for Final Expenses when Terminating a Trust

When terminating a trust, you need to put money aside to pay final taxes and fees. The trust income needs to be reduced by any expenses accrued as of the termination date. If you decide to pay the income [more…]

When to File a Last Will with a Probate Court

As an estate administrator, you assume responsibility for the decedent’s will. You also decide whether probate court administration of the decedent’s assets is necessary. [more…]

How to Find the Estate Planning Documents

Locating estate planning documents is one of the estate administrator’s most important tasks. The decedent’s will, trust agreements and amendments, letters of intent, and any documentation on assets with [more…]

How Death Changes the Decedent’s Assets

Upon death, any assets owned by only by the decedent are frozen, or inaccessible, until an executor of his or her estate is named. Exceptions can be made if an estate is in urgent need of funds before [more…]

How to Handle the Death Certificate of the Estate’s Decedent

A death certificate is an essential document for an estate administrator. Without proof that the decedent actually died, most of the tasks of an administrator would be impossible. But be aware that this [more…]

Things to Remember When You're Writing Your Will

Basically, probate is the method by which your estate is legally transferred after you die. When planning your estate and writing your will, keep these tips in mind to help the probate process run smoothly [more…]

Estate-Related Taxes You Need to Know About

Depending on the value of your estate, you may not have to deal with at least some of the federal taxes, but you or your surviving beneficiaries may have a substantial amount of tax-related paperwork to [more…]

Factoring Insurance into Your Estate Plan

Insurance is vital for estate planning: It helps protect your current property, things you hope to attain in the future, and the gifts you hope to leave behind. Take a look at how insurance affects your [more…]

Setting Up a Trust in Your Estate Plan

Trusts can be a great help in your estate planning — they can protect your property, save on estate taxes, and help you avoid probate. Sounds great, right? Well, before seriously considering a trust, you [more…]

Estate Planning for Special Situations

Even the most orderly estate plans can fall victim to some unforeseen event. To put together a thorough estate plan, take a look at situations that may occur and find out the necessary information for [more…]

Estate Planning For Dummies Cheat Sheet

An estate plan protects your family and finances after you die. Your first step in estate planning is to write a comprehensive will that moves smoothly through the probate process. Make sure you're aware [more…]

How to Arrange the Decedent's Funeral as Estate Executor

As executor of an estate, you may need to arrange the decedent's funeral. From the time of the person's death, you may make sensitive decisions about arranging the funeral and choosing a cemetery. Take [more…]

Part of the Series: Coping with Death: 9 Ways to Deal with Funerals, Feelings, and Faith

Protect Your Relationship with LGBT Wills, Trusts, and Deeds

A good estate plan allows you to arrange, in advance, for the easy and uncomplicated transfer of your property to your family of choice after your death. To make an estate plan that functions to protect [more…]

DIY or Not: Wills and Estate Planning

When it comes to the people you love, you’d do almost anything to ensure they’re taken care of.

Even fill out forms.

And if you have loved ones, there are a few crucial financial forms you will need to fill [more…]

Estate Settlement with or without a Will

Estates that have a valid will are classified and treated differently than estates without a valid will. If an estate has a will, you must file a petition with the probate court to have the will admitted [more…]

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