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Overview of Estate Planning in Charles Town, WV

Overview of Estate Planning in Charles Town, WV


Death is not a tragedy to the one who dies; to have wasted the life before that death, that is the tragedy.
 
- Orson Scott Card


Do you think that estate planning is only for rich folk? Estate planning is the process of getting your affairs in order so that if you pass away unexpectedly, things will be much easier for your loved ones. It doesn't have to be hard or expensive or intimidating. Just a few simple steps: Catalog what you own, make a will and create a few legal documents (with the help of 1-2-Law.com) and review the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts. For most Americans, there's no need to worry about estate taxes or fancy trusts.

Do it for your family. You will feel so much better knowing that you've taken care of them.

• Write a will. State in this document the properties you want your beneficiaries to inherit. You can also indicate the guardian for your young children if something happens to you and your partner.

• Select a guardian for your children. Children who will inherit any money or property from you should be designated with an adult guardian to oversee their affairs.

• Update beneficiaries on retirement accounts. You can transfer to your beneficiaries your stocks, bonds and brokerage accounts if you were able to register them. If you have a bank account and retirement plans, naming a beneficiary to these documents can automatically make these accounts "payable on death". This can avoid the probate process.

• Sign up for life insurance. It would be a good investment to get a life insurance if you owe significant amount of estate tax or debts, have young children, and own a house.

• Determine of you will owe estate taxes. Estates taxes will be impose by the government upon your death if your taxable estate is more than the inclusive limits set by law.


• Determine if a living trust is right for you. Property placed in the living trust can be distributed to their designated beneficiaries without undergoing probate which can be expensive and time consuming.

• Define your health care directives . You also need to plan out for your medical care by doing a medical declaration or living will that can indicate the treatments you want or do not want and power of attorney for health care that can assign a trusted person who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make it yourself.

• Create a financial power of attorney . If you become incapacitated, handling your affairs can be a problem but not if you have a durable power of attorney for finances. A trusted person you have chosen yourself will be handling your finances and property if that time comes. This trusted person is called an agent or attorney-in-fact.


• Provide for funeral expenses. Payable-on-death bank account can be more reliable and easier to set-up as compared a funeral prepayment plan. This will cover your funeral and other related expenses.

• Make the final arrangements. This document will indicate your wishes for organ and body donations and also the disposition of your body through burial or cremation.

• Define the Succession Plan for your business. Make plans if you own a business by having a successor. If you have a partner in business, have a buyout agreement.

• File all estate planning documents. The person you choose in your will to administer your properties should be given access to your important documents like:

1. will

2. trusts

3. information on bank accounts, mutual funds, and safe deposit boxes

4. information on retirement plans, 401(k) accounts, or IRAs

5. insurance policies

6. real estate deeds

7. certificates for stocks, bonds, annuities

8. Information on debts: credit cards, mortgages and loans, utilities, and unpaid taxes

9. Information on funeral prepayment plans, and any final arrangements instructions you have made.

 
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