Estate planning helps you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, it enables you to efficiently transfer assets to your intended beneficiaries at death (or before), and gives you the opportunity to protect your loved ones and their inheritances after you pass away.
Estate plan components vary with each individual. Stellpflug Law, S.C. estate planning attorneys pledge to provide the highest quality of counsel to you as an individual, your family, and your business in a creative and effective plan for future distribution.
Because the rules governing personal and business taxation are complex and continually changing, an important aspect of our consultation is our ability to look beyond, into areas that could affect your specific estate planning issues and goals.
We can help you identify your personal needs and manage them successfully in the following areas.
- Administration of Estates
- Charitable gifts
- Family Limited Partnerships
- Gifting Strategies
- Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
- Irrevocable Trusts (Life Insurance Trusts and Special Needs Trusts)
- Limited Partnerships
- Powers of Attorney
- Private Foundations
- Probate Avoidance
- Revocable Living Trusts
Click here for the Estate Planning Worksheet PDF
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is estate planning?
Estate planning is a process. It involves you, your family, other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it addresses your future needs in case you ever become unable to care for yourself.
Through estate planning, you can determine:
- How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your lifetime if you ever become unable to manage them yourself.
- When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets during your lifetime.
- How and to whom your assets will be distributed after your death.
- How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.
Estate planning does not only involve the writing of a will. Estate planning can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. A will is part of the planning process, but you will need other documents as well to fully address your estate planning needs. Who needs estate planning?
We all do. Whether your estate is large or small you should designate someone to manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions for you if you ever become unable to do so for yourself.
If your estate is small, you may simply need to decide on who will receive your assets after your death, who should manage your estate, pay your last debts and handle the distribution of your assets. If your estate is large, your lawyer will discuss various ways of preserving your assets for your beneficiaries and ways of reducing or postponing the amount of estate tax which otherwise might be payable after your death.
If you do not have an estate plan, a judge will simply appoint someone to handle your assets and personal care. Your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to a set of rules known as intestate succession. An estate plan gives you much greater control over who will inherit your assets after your death. What is included in my estate?
All of your assets. This could include assets held in your name alone or jointly with others, assets such as bank accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, and furniture, cars and jewelry. Your assets may also include life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and payments that are due to you (such as a tax refund, outstanding loan or inheritance).
The value of your estate is equal to the “fair market value” of all of your various types of property—after you have deducted your debts (your car loan, for example, and any mortgage on your home.)
The value of your estate is important in determining whether your estate will be subject to estate taxes after your death and whether your beneficiaries could later be subject to capital gains taxes. Ensuring that there will be sufficient resources to pay such taxes is another important part of the estate planning process. What should I consider when designing an estate plan?
A well-designed plan should consider the following elements:
- Preserving the value of your assets
- Ways to avoid probate
- Ways to reduce unnecessary taxes
- Guidelines to ensure that your heirs receive what you intended them to receive
- A management structure for your assets, for you and your heirs in the event of disability or incapacitation
- Protection for your privacy
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