Nobody likes to talk about their own mortality.
But the unfortunate truth is, not having a well-crafted estate plan could cost your loved ones up to 40 percent of your wealth in federal estate taxes upon your death.
This, coupled with the possible lack of liquid assets to pay estate taxes, could cause your heirs unnecessary problems. An estate plan protects your estate from heavy taxation, frees up assets for immediate financial needs and allows your heirs to avoid probate.
It's not a question of whether you need estate planning. It’s how much planning your estate needs.
Estate planning is more than the distribution of your assets. It covers important issues such as who will take care of your children, who may be called on to handle your medical and financial affairs, and how you can minimize or possibly avoid estate taxes.
Estate planning is a continuing process. You should review your plan at least every three to five years, particularly after a marriage or divorce, the death of a family member, an increase in family income or the birth of a child.
What is the status of your estate plan? Unless you can answer "yes" to all of the questions at right, you have work to do.