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Money Guy, 5-5-2006 Podcast

The Importance of Wills and Estate Planning

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The Importance of Wills and Estate Planning

Wills Help You With:
*Funeral Arrangements
*Disposing of your property
*Names a guardian for your minor children
*Names the executor or the administrator of your estate
Legal Terms Used in Estate Planning:
*Dying Testate: you died with a will
*Dying Intestate: You dies without a will
If you have minor children, it is imperative that you have a will. Without a will, a court will probably award the custody of your children to the nearest available relative. Whoever you determine will be the best guardian for your children, I would recommend that you actually ask them if they would take on this awesome resonsibility if ever required. This is a big responsibility and on that should not be taken lightly.

So What is a Will?
*A Will is a legal document that must comply with specific state laws
*A Will should generally be typed
*The person making the Will should be clearly identified
*Clearly state that this is your Will and revoke all previously made Wills
*You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and body at the time the Will is made
*Will must be signed and dated and generally witnessed by at least two qualified individuals
If possible, you want your assets to transfer ayutomatically at your death. This will help you avoid the cost and delays of going through probate.

Limitations of Wills
*Life Insurance
*401Ks, IRAs, and other retirement accounts
*Living trusts
*Pay-on-Death Accounts
*Property held jointly with a right of survivorship
Your Will does not supersede any of these beneficiary designations
Other Considerations for Wills:
*Credit-Shelter Trust or By-Pass Trust – Through this trust you can transfer up to $2,000,000 (growing in stages to $3,500,000 by 2009) to any beneficiary without payment of any estate tax. The trust is designed to bypass your spouse’s taxable estate, while still providing your spouse access to the trust funds
*QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property)-type of trust created to take advantage of specific estate tax advantages for married couples. Under QTIP trust, the deceased spouse can leave their property in a trust providing income for the surviving spouse as long as they are alive and at their death the remaining interest in the trust goes to whomever the deceased spouse chooses.
*Distribution of asstes to children

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