Good Estate Planning makes for good living
When you have worked all of your life to accumulate assets for the benefit of yourself and your family, you don’t want “unintended heirs” such as the tax collector and estate administrator to benefit financially at the expense of your intended heirs.
An estate plan can help assure your family of financial security after your death. It can cut taxes, administrative costs and red tape. It allows you to dispose of assets as you wish, with consideration given to your heirs’ individual needs and desires.
Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. Most people are aware of the large exclusion for a certain amount of assets from Federal estate taxes. The exclusion amount may seem large. However, when you consider the value of retirement benefits, life insurance, the value of your home and other assets, you may be surprised at how much you’re worth.
Every estate plan needs these basic documents:
- The Will – Where there’s a will, there’s a way-a way to honor your wishes. How, when, and to whom will your property go? Who will be the guardians of your minor children? Without a will, these decisions will be made by strangers in a court system using rules that could be contrary to your intentions. Keep in mind that a will controls only the distribution of your probate estate. It does not control assets held in trust, certain joint assets, retirement account, or life insurance policies on which you name beneficiaries.
- Financial Inventory – Keep a list of your insurance policies, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, businesses you own, outstanding debt, credit cards, tax-related documents, income sources, and other financial information. In addition, include the names and phone numbers of your accountant or tax attorney.
- Power of Attorney – A power of attorney names another individual as your agent. If you were to become disabled or seriously ill, a power of attorney allows your agent to pay your bills, deposit your checks and make decisions on your behalf.
- Health Care Directive – A health care directive (also called a living will, directive to physicians or some similar name) documents the medical treatment you wish if you become incapacitated. It lets you name the individual(s) you wish to make your medical decisions if circumstances keep you from making them yourself.
- Funeral Instructions – Include your burial wishes and a list of relatives, friends and business associates to be notified upon your death.
Proper documentation is vital for effective estate planning. Without it, your assets may go to unintended recipients, access to financial resources will be delayed and critical decisions related to your medical treatment may divide your family. Take control of these important decisions by including the proper documents in your estate pan. Estate planning is an ongoing process.
Contact an Experienced Atlanta Estate Planning Tax Attorney
Employing the assistance of an experienced Tax Attorney and CPA can be invaluable. Atlanta tax attorney and CPA Jeffrey S. Gartzman is a consummate professional with over 35 years of experience representing individuals with their estate planning needs. Contact The Gartzman Law Firm, P.C., today to begin the estate planning process.