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Philadelphia PA Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ten Estate Planning Ideas

Ten Estate Planning Ideas

By Jeremy A. Wechsler, Esq.
Your Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is a lifelong process and you must revisit your plan every so often to ensure it is updated and reflects your wishes. If you do not yet have a plan, now is the time to take action. Here are several ideas that may be helpful:
  1. Executors: Consider choosing one Executor over Co-Executors. Co-Executors can often be troublesome because two or more parties acting together (or against each other) can cause the estate administration to come to a grinding halt.

  2. Testamentary Trusts: Provide your children or loved ones with some asset protection by using testamentary trusts in your will. This is an alternative to outright distributions, which run the risk of being ravaged by divorce proceedings, creditors, bankruptcy, lawsuits and more.

  3. Review Every 3 Years: Make it a point to review your plan at least every three years, to ensure the plan reflects your wishes.

  4. Funeral and Burial Arrangements: Plan for your funeral and burial arrangements in advance so your loved ones do not have to make those decisions at a sensitive time.

  5. Inheritance Taxes: Pennsylvania does not have many exemptions for inheritance taxes. Passing property onto your kids or grandkids is taxed at 4.5%. However, life insurance passes inheritance tax free and income tax free to your heirs. Consider using life insurance to provide instant liquidity while lowering the inheritance tax burden.

  6. Don't Forget IRA's: Your IRA's do not pass through your will. If you have significant IRA's, you should consider an asset protection trust for these assets. An IRA trust is separate from your will or any other trust, because IRA rules are a lot different. 

  7. Organize Organize Organize: Make sure your Executor has access to all of the information he/she needs to settle your estate, including a list of important contacts, financial accounts, deeds, etc.

  8. Consider a Living Trust: Particularly for families that have problems/conflicts, a living trust can provide more privacy than a will because it is not automatically public record. Also, a living trust is great for families that have property in multiple states.

  9. Use Caution Before Gifting: Gifting can be a great way to help your loved ones while you're living, and also minimize taxes. But gifting can have negative consequences too. Before gifting any asset, seek professional assistance.

  10. Get Professional Assistance: Only an estate planning attorney can help you craft an appropriate estate plan for you and your family. By spending the proper amount of time with you, an estate planning attorney can learn about your family and ensure the perfect, customized plan is put together for you.
Need estate planning assistance? Please call my office to get on my calendar at (215) 706-0200.

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The Law Offices of Jeremy A. Wechsler assist clients with Estate Planning matters in Willow Grove, PA as well as Abington, Hatboro, Dresher, Horsham, Bryn Athyn, Huntingdon Valley, Fort Washington, Jenkintown, Glenside, Oreland, Warminister, Wyncote, Ambler, Elkins Park, Flourtown, Philadelphia, Warrington, Cheltenham, Gwynedd Valley, Jamison, Feasterville Trevose, Richboro, North Wales, Blue Bell, Lafayette Hill, King of Prussia, Collegeville, Oaks, Phoenixville, Oxford Valley, Langhorne, Penndel, Bristol, Fairless Hills, Bensalem, Plymouth Meeting, Furlong, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Montgomery County.

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