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Estate Planning

Nov 04, 2019 Annuities can provide guaranteed income and be useful supplements to a traditional 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account. Some even have more than one beneficiary, since annuities can include a death benefit that allows payouts to continue for a family member. Since there are multiple options for annuity payouts, it's important to know how they work and how taxes apply. We'll cover the essential below, but consider engaging a financial advisor to maximize an inherited annuity's benefits. Read More...

Oct 16, 2019 Estate planning can be a complex process, and relying on a will can put your heirs through the time and expense of probate court. A living trust can help simplify things. This arrangement can hold your assets and property in a single place so they can be effectively distributed to your beneficiaries following your passing. As probate and inheritance laws differ from state to state, there are different factors to consider depending on where you live. In this guide, we explore the living trust process for Wyoming residents. The process for creating a living trust is difficult, and can often require the help of a professional. If you're looking to start a living trust in Wyoming, consider seeking out an estate planning attorney and financial advisor. Try using SmartAsset's Read More...

Oct 16, 2019 A living trust is a viable  estate planning tool for Rhode Island residents. Since they allow your families and loved ones to skip the time-consuming and expensive process of proving a will, creating one is a good idea for those with complicated estates. If you, in fact, decide that a living trust makes sense for you, it might be a good idea to talk it over with a financial advisor and an estate planning attorney. SmartAsset's free matching tool can pair you with a local financial advisor based on your personal needs. Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 No matter where you live, it's important to have a strong  estate plan in place. One popular estate planning tool is a living trust, which offers a secure way to store your assets and property so that they can be easily distributed to your beneficiaries after you die. As laws governing probate and inheritance vary from one state to another, the considerations that go into a living trust will depend on where you live. This article explores the living trust creation process for residents of North Dakota. It's a good idea to talk to an attorney and a financial advisor as you begin the estate-planning process. Try using SmartAsset's Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 If you’re beginning to formulate your  estate plans, the paths you can take are numerous. One method of protecting your assets for your family is to form a living trust. While a living trust has its pros and cons like anything else, it can be a great way to make things easier on your descendants after you're gone. As probate and inheritance laws vary from state to state, the considerations that come into play when creating a trust will depend on where you live. This article specifically looks at the considerations and process for Maine residents. If you’re thinking of creating a living trust or you just want some general financial planning help, getting a financial advisor is probably a good idea. You can find one who suits your needs using SmartAsset’s free Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 When  planning your estate, you have different tools at your disposal to protect your assets for your loved ones. One such tool is a living trust, which many estate-planning experts consider to be a more iron-clad strategy than writing a will. As probate and inheritance laws vary from state to state, the considerations that go into creating a living trust will differ depending on where you live. If you're considering creating a living trust in West Virginia, we'll walk you through what you need to know. Note that an attorney and a financial advisor can be valuable partners in the estate-planning process. SmartAsset can help you find a local advisor who suits your needs with our free Read More...

Oct 15, 2019 If you're thinking about your estate planning strategy, odds are you've heard about creating a living trust. A living trust can protect your assets and make life easier for your heirs. Residents of New Hampshire may particularly benefit from using a living trust, due to the way the the state handles residents' estates after they die. Whether you’re thinking about forming a living trust or you simply have some financial planning questions, it might be worth working with a financial professional. SmartAsset's free advisor matching tool can help you find an advisor in your area who suits… Read More...

Oct 14, 2019 As you approach the  estate planning process, you have many tools at your disposal. One such tool is a living trust. By creating a living trust, you can protect your assets and property and save your family from having to go through probate following your death. The considerations surrounding the creation of a living trust depend in part on your state's laws. In this article, we'll explore how to create a living trust in Connecticut. Like any legal document, living trusts can be complex, so it might be helpful to work with an estate planning lawyer. A  financial advisor can… Read More...

Oct 03, 2019 A living trust can help you establish a solid estate plan and protect your assets after death. Every state has different estate and inheritance laws, but this guide will take a closer look at how to form a living trust in South Dakota and whether you need one. Whether it’s investing, retirement planning or estate planning, a financial advisor can help you meet your savings goals. If you’re having trouble finding one, SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can help you find the best advisor for your financial situation. Read More...

Oct 03, 2019 Estate planning allows you to take steps to ensure your assets are protected after your death or incapacitation. After you’ve accounted for any remaining taxes or bills, you can distribute property and assets to friends, loved ones or charitable organizations. One of the most common estate plans is living trusts. Living trusts allow you to transfer control of your assets to a trustee, who then transfers ownership of those assets to any beneficiaries you’ve selected. This article will look further into living trusts in Pennsylvania and whether you need one. If you’d like expert advice with forming your estate plan, SmartAsset’s Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Estate planning is one of the best ways to ensure your assets are protected after you’ve died. You’ll have a range of options for legally distributing your assets following death or incapacitation, but one of the ways to do so is by opening a living trust. This article will explore the process of forming a living trust in Kansas, with a closer look at why you may or may not want to use one. If you’re new to estate planning and would like expert advice, a financial advisor could greatly simplify the process. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool pairs you with up to three local… Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Leaving money behind for an heir can be nerve-racking, especially if they're new to managing money or have trouble controlling their spending. An estate planning tool that can help you in this situation is a spendthrift trust, which affords a trustee the power to determine how their beneficiary can use inherited funds. If used correctly, this type of trust will allow your assets to last so they can provide for your loved ones for decades. Trusts are complicated legal instruments, so it's usually a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney to create one. You should also consider working with a Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Estate planning is the part of financial planning that allows you to protect your assets after your death. You’ll have access to a range of options to ensure your assets are legally distributed to your desired heirs, but one of the best ways to do so is through a living trust. With a living trust you’ll be able to control how your assets are managed and distributed of as soon as you create it, not after you die. This article will take a closer look at the process of forming a living trust in Alaska and whether it’s right for you. If you’d like professional assistance in your estate planning process, you may want to consider hiring a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free… Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 If you're working on your estate plans, you may come across living trusts as a way to protect your assets so you can safely leave them for family and friends. The primary benefit of using a living trust instead of a will is that they can allow you to bypass the probate process. As probate rules differ considerably from state to state, though, the importance of avoiding probate will depend on where you live. This guide will walk Utah residents through the decision-making process; show the basics of creating a trust; and discuss related factors like taxes and other costs. Should you decide to move forward with a living trust, it would be wise to get an estate planning lawyer. It's also a good idea to work with a  Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 A living trust is an  estate planning tool that can simplify the passing on of your assets to your family. Each state tends to have its own rules as to how you can set up your own living trust as a resident. So if you live in Virginia, our detailed guide will go over whether or not a living trust is right for your situation, how you can create one and the costs and taxes associated with doing so. While it's possible to set up a living trust and plan your estate yourself, it's a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor to get your finances and… Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Estate planning can take a lot of energy, and there are many options to consider when coming up with your directions for what will happen to your money and possessions after you’ve died. One option you have for making sure your assets are protected and your family cared for is to use a living trust. This article has information for anyone thinking of forming a living trust in Colorado, including a step-by-step guide to the process and a look at whether or not a living trust is a good choice for your situation. If you are just starting to go through your estate planning process, consider getting a financial advisor to help. SmartAsset has a free financial advisor matching… Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 A Delaware living trust bypasses probate and can ensure that your assets and property transfer promptly to your loved ones after you die. The costs of setting up a living trust can be high, though, so the estate planning tool does not make sense for everyone. Read on to find out if it's the right option for you and to learn everything else you may be wondering about living trusts in Delaware. For more help with your estate planning, use  SmartAsset's matching tool to find a financial advisor near you. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Estate planning should be a part of everyone's financial plan, especially as you grow older. A living trust can serve as the centerpiece of your estate plans, as it helps simplify things for your family when you die. That's because, unlike a will, a living trust does not have to pass through the probate process, which can be long and complicated. In this article we'll walk through the basics of creating a living trust in the state of Alabama, though you might also consider consulting with a  financial professional or estate planning lawyer. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 A Nebraska living trust allows your heirs to receive your estate without the delay or interference of the court. A will, on the other hand, must go through probate before your estate can be distributed. But a Nebraska living trust isn't for everyone. Read on to find out who it does and doesn't make sense for. For more help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s  matching tool  to find a financial advisor near you.  Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 In the realm of estate planning, it's crucial to be proactive and to put a plan in place that takes care of your family. A great way to accomplish this is to create a living trust. If you live in Hawaii and you're weighing your estate planning options, a living trust just might be the best choice to protect your assets and your family. We'll walk through the details of creating a living trust in Hawaii, but if you'd like professional help, consider consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 Contrary to public perception, trusts aren’t only for the wealthy. Indeed, anyone who owns property in Vermont and whose estate is worth more than $10,000 may want to set up a living trust to avoid probate. The court process can take six to 18 months if no litigation is involved. This article will help you decide whether a Vermont living trust makes sense for you. It will also tell you everything you want to know about the legal document. For large estates, you’ll probably also want a financial advisor’s help. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 After working so hard to build and manage your wealth, you’re not about to let it just scatter to your heirs without a plan. You want to steer it to them intact, which may include creating a living trust to avoid probate in Idaho. This article will help you decide whether a living trust makes sense for you and everything else you want to know about the legal document. For large estates, you’ll probably also want a financial advisor’s help. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Thinking about the best way to structure your estate may not be particularly enjoyable, but it's essential if you want to leave a financial legacy to your family. For many, a great way to streamline things is through the creation of a living trust. The primary benefit of choosing a living trust instead of just writing a will is that your family will be able to avoid probate altogether. Whether you’re in the process of creating a trust or any other type of financial plan, you might also benefit from talking to a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 After the years you put into building your wealth, you want to pass it on to your heirs intact - and ideally without the delay of the courts. For Kentuckians, setting up a living trust makes a lot of sense, since probate can be a costly and lengthy process in the state. Whether you are just contemplating the idea or have already decided to create a living trust, this article will explain everything you want to know. If your estate is sizable or otherwise tricky, a financial advisor’s guidance is essential. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 Creating a living trust can be a great way to be proactive with your estate planning, giving you the means to protect your assets and make life easy for your family after you’ve died. But the rules governing the creation of these trusts vary from state to state. If you live in Nevada and are considering establishing a living trust, this guide will give you the information you need to set everything up. To help work your living trust in your financial plans, you might benefit from working with an estate planning attorney; you might also work with a financial advisor who can take a more holistic… Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you plan to leave a substantial amount of assets and property to your loved ones, an Indiana living trust can simplify the process. By transferring your assets to a living trust, you will enable your heirs to avoid the expense and time of probate. You can also leave instructions for when you want beneficiaries to receive your assets, in case you want them to reach a certain age first. A living trust is a key tool in estate planning, and below, we will answer all of your questions about creating a living trust in Indiana. For hands-on help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you’re planning for your estate after you die, you’re probably considering setting up a living trust. The legal document will enable your heirs to skip probate, which is considered a lengthy court process in Mississippi. Read on to determine if a living trust in Mississippi is truly the right move for you. For more help with your estate planning, use SmartAsset’s matching tool to find a financial advisor near you. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If you have a loved one who deals with chronic illness or a disability of some kind, you want to be able to keep supporting them after you're gone. However, you don't want to disrupt their ability to collect funds from programs like Medicaid or Disability. In these situations, you can use a special needs trust. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 Estate planning is a process that allows you to protect your assets in the event of your incapacitation or death. One way to do so is by forming a living trust. Living trusts are legal documents that ensure your assets are given to any beneficiaries you select. This article explores the process of forming a living trust in Montana and whether you should create one. If you’d like expert guidance with estate planning, SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool pairs you with up to three local advisors suitable to your financial needs. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 Setting up a living trust in Missouri can help your heirs receive your estate promptly. It does this by avoiding probate, which can take some time in the state, since it has not adopted the Uniform Probate Code. We’ll tell you all you need to know about the key estate planning tool and how it works in Missouri. You can create one by yourself, though for large or otherwise tricky estates, you’ll probably want a financial advisor to guide you in transferring assets to the trust. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 If your estate is worth more than $200,000, you should consider creating an Oklahoma living trust. This estate planning tool allows your heirs to receive your assets without waiting for probate, which takes longer in your state than the states that have adopted the Uniform Probate Code. In this article, we cover all the basics about living trusts in Oklahoma. For help with complex estates, consult a financial advisor. This matching tool will connect you with up to three advisors vetted by SmartAsset. Read More...

Sep 30, 2019 It’s not only natural to be thinking about what will happen to your property after you die. It’s also smart. For Tennesseans who want to spare their heirs the time and expense of going through probate, transferring assets to a living trust makes a lot of sense, since probate can be a lengthy process in the state. Whether you are just contemplating the idea or have already decided to create a living trust, this article will explain everything you want to know. If your estate is sizable or otherwise complicated, you could probably use a financial advisor’s expertise. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can help you find the right pro for your situation. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Estate planning is a key part of ensuring that your assets are properly distributed after you've died. One of the many estate planning options available is to create a living trust in which you can put your assets and property. However the process for creating a living trust can vary from state to state, and Minnesota is no exception. If you're just starting the process of planning your estate, it can be helpful to talk to a financial advisor. SmartAsset's free tool can match you with… Read More...

Aug 16, 2019 When someone passes away, their estate may have to go through the probate process. If they left a will, that document can be legally contested in probate court. There are several reasons why a will may be challenged. Understanding how the process works for contesting a will is important if you've been named as a beneficiary of someone's estate or you're concerned that your own will may someday become a subject of disagreement. Read More...

Aug 13, 2019 Creating an estate plan is an important step in managing wealth. This is especially true if you're married and want to leave assets to your spouse. A bypass trust could help your estate planning, depending on your financial goals. Understanding a bypass trust and its benefits may help you if it's right for your financial plan. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 If you love your grandchildren, you might want to make sure that when you die some of your estate goes past your own children and right to your grandchildren, giving them a nest egg on which to build their future. You also might want to give some money to your grandchildren to avoid having the money be subject to inheritance or estate taxes twice -- both times it passes down a generation. If this is true for you, it might make sense to get a generation-skipping trust, one of the cleanest ways to give money directly you your grandchildren without having that money go through their parents (your children) first. This alsoas a way to pay the estate or inheritance tax just once. As you navigate this complicated financial terrain, consider enlisting the help of a trusted Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Estate planning can be a time-intensive process as you determine how to divide ownership of property and other assets. Joint tenancy may be a focal point of your estate planning discussions if you're married or own property with someone else. Understanding the basics of how it works is essential for protecting your assets and wealth during your lifetime and beyond. Read More...

Aug 09, 2019 An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can provide peace of mind as you start your estate planning process. If you have a sizable estate or young beneficiaries, an ILIT can provide control over a life insurance policy that a last will and testament may not. The "irrevocable" part of that trust means that its creator, or grantor, can't amend it once it's set up. Such a trust has its benefits, but there are variable to consider before setting it in stone. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Dying may get you out of a lot of things, but not taxes. If you have a lot of property you want to leave to your children or other heirs, it may be subject to taxation. Federal estate taxes (and in a few states, state estate taxes) apply before your property is transferred. Some states also apply an inheritance tax, in which the beneficiary could also be taxed after the transfer is complete. Some people refer to estate and inheritance taxes as "death taxes." Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jun 28, 2019 A trustee is the individual appointed to administer assets or property for the benefit of a third party. A trustee could be appointed for the purpose of bankruptcy, a charity or certain kinds of retirement plans, but the most common is a trust. A trust is a legal agreement designed to control how an individual leaves an estate to their heirs. Many people choose to create trusts to protect the interest of their beneficiaries. Also, trusts help them avoid the costs of probate or working with the courts to transfer wealth. The owner of the trust, known as the grantor, must appoint a trustee to administer their wishes outlined in the trust. While it may seem like an honor to take on the role of a trustee, it comes with significant responsibilities. We’ve broken down what a trustee is, their… Read More...

Aug 14, 2019 An irrevocable trust can maintain your wishes after you die, but it will cost you some flexibility. While a last will and testament requires a probate court process to distribute your assets to heirs, most trusts avoid probate. However, your lifestyle and personal preferences will dictate whether an irrevocable trust or a revocable trust is best suited to your needs. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Transfer on death (TOD) accounts can keep your estate planning intact while keeping your beneficiaries out of court. If you’re among the  57% of adults who don’t currently have a  will or  trust, your family is likely headed to probate court. Even estates with wills will likely need to go through  probate, which can burden your loved ones and create hostility between family members. A TOD account can avoid a legal mess by moving your assets without leaving them in your will. Read More...

May 29, 2019 By having a will in place when you pass away, you can detail how you want your affairs and assets to be handled. To ensure your will is valid, you'll need to crate a meticulous plan for how your possessions will be distributed once you pass. The sheer volume of possessions and assets you've accumulated during your life might make this seem rather daunting. Lucky for you, there are a number of websites that can help you get your will in order. Even if at the end of this you still have questions, perhaps you should contact a financial advisor. Read More...

May 08, 2019 Having a solid end-of-life plan in place can be a big help to you and your family when the time comes. In addition getting your financial affairs in order through the  estate planning process, it's also a good idea to set up medical power of attorney. This is a legal document - alternatively referred to as healthcare power of attorney or  durable power of attorney for healthcare - that approves an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. Having this paperwork in place can give you peace of mind, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 A trust company is a legal entity that can serve as an agent or trustee on behalf of a trust.  They can be either stand-alone entities or divisions of commercial banks. If you're planning to use trusts as part of your estate planning process, a trust company can likely help by serving as trustee. They can also play a role in other aspects of your financial plan. Read More...

Apr 09, 2019 The process of planning your estate can be a long and complex one. You might need to create legal documents and entities including wills, trusts, power of attorney and more. That's why many people choose to work with a professional to guide them in the process. While a financial advisor can walk you through the basics of building a financial plan that takes care of your family, it's also a good idea to work with an estate planning attorney.  Read More...

Apr 04, 2019 In business, having the right people in leadership roles is arguably the most important factor for success. That means that when a top executive or star employee retires or leaves for another role, there needs to be a contingency plan in place to replace her quickly and seamlessly. This is akin to having a support network for your small business. Ideally, you'll be able to replace the departing employee with another employee who has the experience and institutional knowledge to step into the role. This process is known as succession planning. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Traditionally, the process of planning for the transfer of assets to your loved ones after your death is known as  estate planning. As you approach this process, you might also hear another term: Legacy planning. The terms are in many ways synonymous, with some financial professionals using the phrase as a "re-branding" of the more traditional terminology. However, some argue that legacy planning encompasses a greater breadth of planning and activities.  Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 A comprehensive  estate plan often includes writing a last will and testament to transfer your assets to your beneficiaries. Once you've passed away, the executor of your will shepherds the will through the probate process. However, you may have things you'd like to communicate to your loved ones and beneficiaries that you don't want to include in the will itself. Often, these are informal instructions that will help your executor carry out your wishes. It might also include such informal elements as opinions about your funeral, the values you'd like to be remembered for or just a sentimental message to loved ones. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Medical issues bring about plenty of tough decisions about what treatments you do and don't want performed. Because you may be incapacitated in these situations, many people prepare ahead of time by creating  advance health care directives to record their wishes. In six states, you can record your wishes regarding life-sustaining measures in a uniform format using a medical order for life-sustaining treatment (MOLST) form. Using the MOLST form makes it easier to be sure that you're recording everything properly and complying with all the laws of your state. That way, you can rest easy knowing there won't be any hiccups when the time comes. Read More...

Nov 01, 2019 Having an estate plan in place can offer reassurance that your assets will be managed according to your wishes, both during your lifetime and after you pass away. While many people think of wills as the centerpiece of an estate plan, wills can be contested and have to go through a lengthy probate process. Instead, many people will use a trust to transfer assets to their loved ones. Read More...

Mar 13, 2019 The executor of a will has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the estate. This means that the law prevents you from acting in your own interest to the detriment of the estate. As an extension of this duty, executors also have several responsibilities to the beneficiaries of the will. We'll go through the most notable responsibilities executors have, as well as what they don't have an obligation to do. Read More...

Mar 13, 2019 When most people think of executing a will, they might think only of delivering inherited assets to beneficiaries. However, there are actually several steps of the probate process that the executor must complete before transferring any assets. As a beneficiary, it's natural to wonder how long it will take before the process ends and you receive any inheritance coming your way. Read More...

Apr 15, 2019 Even if you die without a will or without naming an executor in your will, someone still has to take charge of managing and closing your estate. The person who assumes this role is typically called an administrator rather than an executor. Each state has a way of determining who should act as administrator, so if you would like to volunteer, you’ll have to operate within your state’s probate process. While the minute details of the process will differ between probate courts, the broad strokes of the process will be the same. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 The executor of a will is in charge of making sure the wishes of the deceased are carried out, as well as handling the final affairs of the estate. The executor has authority from the county probate court to act in this role, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the executor has the final say on all decisions regarding the estate. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 One of the most crucial aspects of estate planning is appointing people you trust to step in for you when you can't act for your self. Two of the most prominent of these roles are the executor of your estate and your agent with power of attorney. The two roles may be filled by the same person, but the roles themselves are very different.  Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 When it comes to planning your estate, choosing who to name as your executor is an important choice to make. Your executor has a range of duties, including paying your debts, navigating your estate through the probate court and distributing your assets to your heirs. It's a big job, so you may consider splitting the responsibilities by naming two co-executors. However, doing so may complicate things more than it helps, depending on your situation. We’ll discuss why you may want to name co-executors, as well as the pros and cons of such a strategy. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 Setting up a trust can be great way to control how your assets are distributed to your heirs after you pass away. Trusts are in many ways more flexible than wills in managing an estate's assets. When you've passed, the successor trustee - effectively the "executor" of your trust - is responsible for managing your trust and its assets. Read More...

Mar 11, 2019 Serving as the executor of a will can be a time-consuming endeavor that takes up a lot of mental bandwidth. It can be hard to keep straight the various forms, procedures and duties. To make the process just a bit more straightforward, we've assembled a checklist of the most important steps in the probate process. Keep in mind, though, that every estate is different, which means every executor's experience will be a little different. Read More...

Mar 11, 2019 Executors have broad authority from the courts to navigate an estate through the probate process. However, there are limits on what executors can do. These limitations stem mostly from an executor's fiduciary duty to the estate. We'll dive in to what fiduciary duty is, what it keeps executors from doing and what can happen if they fail. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 When you serve as the executor of a will, you'll need to grapple with a lot of paperwork as you coordinate the distribution of  assets and property. Rest assured that whatever step of the probate process you’re working through, there’s likely a form for it. We’ll go over some of the most important forms here. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 Serving as the executor of a will can be a bigger time commitment than many people might expect. Not only do you need to oversee the transfer of assets to the proper beneficiaries, but you also need to pay debts, close accounts and wrap up other miscellaneous affairs for the deceased. Many executors are attorneys or accountants who may not know the deceased very well. However, many times the executor is a close relative or spouse of the decedent (the person who has died). In these instances, the executor of the will may also be one of the beneficiaries named in the will. While that might seem strange, it's actually a fairly common occurrence. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 A power of attorney is a legal document that transfers control of some of your personal responsibilities to another person. There are a few basic types of power of attorney, one of which is a durable power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney, you immediately transfer the power, legally allowing the agent to start making decisions on your behalf right away. The agent's decision-making power continues if the grantor becomes incapacitated. A durable power of attorney can be useful, but make sure you fully understand what you are doing before you sign one. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 The executor of a will plays a very important role in the process of closing a deceased individual's estate. Although many think of executors as simply the people who inform heirs of what they've inherited, the job is actually quite wide-ranging. An executor is in charge of all the necessary tasks that come with carrying out a will and managing an estate. The executor must handle all the debts, loose ends, bequests and more that come with an estate. Every estate is different, so a complete list of duties is hard to come by. However, there are several steps of the process that will come up just about every time. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Probate is the court-supervised process of validating a deceased person’s will. It involves identifying the person’s final assets, paying last debts and distributing property to the proper heirs. And while state law ultimately determines how probate works, the process is very similar across the country. This article will walk you through it step-by-step. But first, let's determine if probate is even required. If you want hands-on expert guidance to help your through the probate process, check out SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool to get paired with up to financial advisors in your area who can best meet your needs. Read More...

Mar 04, 2019 Some people may feel guilty about taking money for serving as the executor of a will. This is understandable, as the people you’ll be working with will undoubtedly be grieving. (Indeed, you may be grieving as well.) However, being an executor can be a time-consuming job that can take weeks or even months. That’s why most executors are entitled to receive some sort of payment for their services, either through the terms of the will or by state law. Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 Although it’s never fun to think about, estate planning is an important part of life, especially as we grow older. Many people choose to create a last will and testament to dictate how to bequeath their property and other assets after they pass away. Inevitably, though, it’s impossible for you to make sure people adhere to your will when the time comes. That’s where the executor of a will comes in. Read More...

Nov 12, 2019 The power of attorney (POA) authorizes another person to sign legal documents and otherwise act on your behalf in the eyes of the law. This power, however, does not apply to making changes to a will. It ends when you die - or earlier. It can never be invoked after your death. You can limit the power in scope or to a certain timeframe or event (such as your becoming incapacitated). You can also revoke it. Whether you're planning your estate or simply planning ahead, here's what you need to know when giving or assuming POA. Read More...

Feb 25, 2019 There are only two things in life that are certain, as the saying goes: death and taxes. While there are ways to limit the amount you’ll pay in taxes, all the miracles of modern medicine aren’t going to allow you to cheat death. The best you can do is to be prepared so that when you do die, your family is well-positioned. One estate planning option is to write a will, which is a legal document directing what will happen to your estate. Read More...

Feb 04, 2019 The time may come when a medical issue leaves you unable to express your wishes about medical treatment. That's why it's important to make preparations ahead of time to make these wishes clear to doctors and family members. Setting up either an advance directive or a living will can avoid any doubt or potential legal issues. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 Wyoming does not levy an estate tax. There is a federal estate tax, though, that will apply to Wyoming residents with large enough estates. This page will walk Cowboy State residents though what they’ll need to know about the estate tax to make sure their estates are planned carefully and their families are prepared for what will happen when they die. Hiring a financial advisor to help you through the intricacies of estate planning may make sense. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for your situation with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 Tennessee has no estate tax, regardless of the size of your estate. There is a federal estate tax, though, that will apply to Volunteer State residents who have estates of sufficient size. This page will walk Tennesseans looking to plan their estates through what they need to know to make sure everything is in order. One of the best ways to prepare your estate is to work with a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 South Dakota does not levy an estate tax. There is a federal estate tax, however, that will apply to South Dakotans who have estates of a certain size. This page is a guide for Mount Rushmore State residents who are looking for information about the estate tax as they plan their estates and make sure their families are ready to deal with every legal and financial step after they're gone. A financial advisor can help make estate planning even easier. SmartAsset makes finding an advisor effortless with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 27, 2018 Setting up a trust fund is one of many ways you can transfer money, property, and other assets to your loved ones or worthwhile causes. Like a will, it's an estate planning tool that outlines how your affairs should be handled after you pass. But a trust fund actually provides more control, privacy, and specificity. It can help you minimize estate taxes and avoid probate, and it can save your beneficiaries time, money, and piles of paperwork. Here's what you need to know about setting up a trust fund. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 Oklahoma has no estate tax, though some Sooner State residents may pay the federal estate tax if their estate is above a certain size. This page will walk Oklahomans through the estate tax so they can better plan their estate and make sure their family is prepared to deal with their death. Working with an advisor helps to ensure that you take care of every detail when planning your estate. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

May 21, 2019 Wisconsin has no estate tax. The federal estate tax may apply to residents of the state, however, if their estate is valuable enough. This page is for Badger State residents who want to learn more about the estate tax as they prepare themselves and their families for what will happen after they've died. Of course, one of the best ways to plan your estate is to get professional assistance in the form of a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you easily find an advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 There is no estate tax in North Dakota. The federal government has an estate tax, though, and it may apply to North Dakotans if their estate is of sufficient value. This guide is for Roughrider State residents who are looking for the information needed to effectively plan their estate and make sure their assets are protected and their families are prepared when they die. One of the best ways to prepare for the estate tax and other potential estate planning pitfalls is to hire a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 20, 2018 New Mexico does not have an estate tax, though there is a federal estate tax that will apply to New Mexicans who have large enough estates. This guide will take Land of Enchantment residents though all of the relevant facts they’ll need to navigate estate tax issues as they work to protect their estates and prepare their families for what happens when they eventually die. Finding a professional to help you is one of the best ways to go about estate planning. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service can help you find an advisor who is a good fit for you. Read More...

Dec 20, 2018 New Hampshire has no estate tax. The federal estate tax may apply to residents of the state, though, if their estates are worth enough. This guide is for Granite Staters who are looking for the information they need to work through estate tax issues as they plan their estates and make sure everything is easy for their families after their deaths. One of the best steps to take in planning your estate is hiring a financial advisor to help you work through any problems. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 20, 2018 Nebraska does not have an estate tax, though the federal estate tax will apply to Nebraskans if their estate is worth enough. Nebraska also has an inheritance tax to watch out for. This guide will take Cornhusker State residents through the information they need to know about the estate tax if they want their families to be secure and prepared for what will happen after they die. One way to take action on planning your estate is to hire a financial advisor to help you sort through the issues that come with the process. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 20, 2018 Nevada does not have an estate tax. There is a federal estate tax, though, that may apply if your estate is large enough. This guide will walk Silver State residents through the estate tax information they need to know to make sure their estate planning process goes smoothly and their family is adequately prepared for what happens once they’ve died. If you’re starting to think about estate planning, it may make sense to find a financial advisor to guide you through the trickier parts of the process. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 There is no estate tax in West Virginia, but residents of the state may still have to pay the federal estate tax if the value of their estate is high enough. In this guide, Mountain State residents will find the information they need to prepare for the estate tax and make sure their families are ready for the legal and financial hurdles that will arise when they die. You don’t have to plan your estate by yourself, though. A financial advisor can help you work through all of the problems and come up with a workable plan. You can find an advisor with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Missouri does not levy its own estate tax. Missourians may be liable for the federal estate tax, though, if their estates are large enough. This guide walks Show-Me State residents through what what they need to be aware of regarding the estate tax to make sure their estate plan is thorough and adequately protects their assets. Finding a financial advisor can make estate planning easier. SmartAsset can help you find the right financial advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Montana does not have an estate tax. Montanans may still have to pay the federal estate tax, though, if the value of their estate is high enough. This guide takes Big Sky Country residents through what they need to know about the estate tax and other taxes that may factor into the estate planning process. If you think you’d like a financial advisor to help you with estate planning, consider finding one using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 Mississippi has no estate tax, but the federal estate tax will still apply to Mississippians if their estate is worth enough. This page guides Magnolia State residents through what they need to know to protect their assets and make sure their families are ready for any estate tax issues that may come up after they’ve died. Planning an estate takes some time and patience, though, so finding someone to help you may be a good choice. SmartAsset can help you find a financial advisor to assist with estate planning with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 There is no estate tax in Louisiana, but residents of the Bayou State may still have to pay the federal estate tax if their estate is worth enough. This guide takes Louisianans through what they need to know about the estate tax as they begin to think about estate planning. Planning ahead will help you make sure your assets are protected and your affairs are in order for when you eventually pass away. Estate planning isn’t always simple, though, so you may want to enlist a financial advisor to help you. SmartAsset can simplify your search with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 There is no estate tax in Kentucky. However, there is an inheritance tax that residents should be aware of when thinking about estate planning. There is also the federal estate tax to think about, which may apply if your estate is valuable enough. This article is for Bluegrass State residents who are wondering what they need to know as they start to think about the estate tax and how it will impact their estate planning goals. If you need help, you should consider finding a financial advisor to assist with estate planning. SmartAsset makes it easier to find an advisor who meets your needs with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Hawaii levies an estate tax. The tax is progressive, with rates ranging from 10.00% to 15.70%. For 2018, the estate tax exemption in Hawaii is $5.49 million. That number is expected to rise to the federal exemption level in 2019, though specifics have yet to be determined. This guide is intended for residents of the Aloha State who want to learn what they need to know to ensure their assets are protected and their families are prepared once they die. If you need estate planning assistance, a financial advisor can help. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Vermont is one of twelve states, plus Washington, D.C., that levies an estate tax. Unlike the other states, though, Vermont’s estate tax is flat. If your estate is worth more than the $2.75 million exemption, the state taxes the excess at a rate of 16%, with no progressive rates or tax brackets involved. If you are a resident of the Green Mountain State and you’re starting to think about estate planning, this guide will take you through what you need to know. You also may want a professional to help you plan your estate. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service can help you find the right advisor to guide you through the process. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Iowa does not levy an estate tax, but Iowans may still have to pay the federal estate tax if they have enough assets. The Hawkeye State has an inheritance tax to consider as well. This guide will walk Iowans through what they need to know to prepare their estates and make sure their families are taken care of when they pass away. It isn’t always simple to plan an estate, though, and you may want help. SmartAsset makes it easy to find a professional to help you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Kansas does not have an estate tax, but residents of the Sunflower State may have to pay a federal estate tax if their estate is of sufficient size. This guide walks Kansans who are starting to think about estate planning through what they need to know to protect their legacy after they pass. Planning an estate isn't easy, though, so it might make sense to get help. SmartAsset makes it easy to find a financial advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Idaho has no state-level estate tax. Idahoans with estates of a certain size may still have to worry about the federal estate tax, though. This guide walks Gem State residents through the facts and figures they need to know about the estate tax and other relevant taxes as they begin planning their estates. Estate planning isn’t easy though, so you may want to find help in the form of a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor who is a good fit for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 Creating an advance directive is an important part of your end-of-life planning. Doing so will help to communicate your wishes in medical situations where you can’t express them yourself. While a financial advisor can help you put together an advance directive, you can also create one yourself. If you live in Indiana and you’re considering drafting an advance directive, this guide will walk you through what it is, how to make one and if it’s something you need. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Indiana does not levy an estate tax. Residents of the state may still have to pay the federal estate tax, though, if their estates are worth enough. This guide is for Hoosiers who are starting to think about their own estates and want to find out what they need to do to protect their legacy. Estate planning can take some work, though, so you may want to find a professional to help you out. SmartAsset can help you find a professional who meets your needs with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 There is no estate tax in Utah. There is a federal estate tax, though, and residents of the Beehive State with sufficiently large estates may have to pay that. This guide is for Utahns who are starting to think about estate planning and want to learn more to ensure they protect their assets and prepare their families. If you want help with estate planning or financial planning more generally, consider working with a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 06, 2018 An advance directive is an important element of a thorough  estate planning strategy. If you live in Vermont and you’re unsure if you should draft an advance directive, this guide will walk you through what an advance directive is, how to make one and if it’s something you need. Please note, though, that if you're planning for the end of your life and thinking about an estate plane, it's a good idea to seek out the services of a  financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 There is an estate tax in Connecticut. It is progressive, and tax rates range from 7.20% to 12.00%. For 2018, the estate tax applies to estates that are worth more than $2.60 million. If you're resident of Connecticut and thinking about planning your estate, this guide will explain what you need to know about the estate tax to make sure your affairs are in order when you pass away. If the estate tax may apply to you, consider finding a financial advisor to guide you through the estate planning process. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor with our free financial advisor matching… Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 There is no estate tax in Delaware at the state level. The federal government does levy a tax on estates that reach a certain threshold, though, so residents of The First State may have to pay that. Delaware residents can use this guide to learn what they need to know about the estate tax if they are starting to think about estate planning. Estate planning is complicated, so you may want to get some help. A financial advisor will take you through everything you need to know about estate planning, and SmartAsset can help you find a financial advisor with our free financial advisor matching… Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Arkansas does not levy an estate tax. The federal government does have an estate tax, though, and Arkansas residents may be subject to that if the value of their estate is high enough. This guide is for residents of The Natural State who are starting to think about estate planning and want to make sure everything is taken care of when they are gone. If you want more help with estate planning or any other financial planning matter, finding a financial advisor may make sense. SmartAsset has a free financial advisor matching service that can help you find an advisor in your area. Read More...

Dec 18, 2018 Alaska does not levy an estate tax, but residents of The Last Frontier with especially large estates may still be subject to the federal estate tax. Use this guide to find out what you need to know if you're an Alaskan planning your estate. If you're finding estate planning — or financial and retirement planning more generally — overwhelming, consider finding a financial advisor to help you. SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching service makes it easier to find an advisor in your area. Read More...

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