Read these 3 Estate Planning Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Retirement tips and hundreds of other topics.
A basic will won't protect you from probate. If you leave anything more than a small amount of property through financial and estate planning, probate court proceedings will probably be necessary after your death. Although it varies from state to state, probate can take six months or a year, and eat up three to five percent of your estate in lawyers' and court fees. And your beneficiaries will probably get little or nothing until probate is complete. Even if you don't opt for more elaborate estate planning, it's probably a good idea to consult with a reputable financial planner to see if you need more than a basic will.
By and large, if you are under age 50 and don't expect to leave assets valuable enough to require estate tax planning, you can probably get by with only a basic will. But as you grow older and acquire more property, you may want to engage in more sophisticated estate planning. Solid financial and estate planning and will estate planning can be done on one's own, but it's probably better to play it safe. Still, you can find plenty of internet resources where you can find an estate planning checklist to get you started.
Estate tax planning is very important to preserving your wealth for future generations. Knowing your potential estate tax liability is a great place to start your estate planning. Financial and estate planning can range from a basic will to a more complex trust to a full-fledged foundation to ensure that after you die your assets are disposed of in a way that complies with your wishes.