In our last post we listed 10 concerns that you ought to be aware of when considering how to approach estate planning. On the bottom of that list, we mentioned that one of the most important considerations for estate planning is, quite simply, to begin the planning process before it is too late.
Estate planning can often be a daunting task for individuals unsure of how or where to begin. Especially where family and/or financial situations are complex, estate planning can be tricky. And even though many have a basic understanding of their estate planning goals, some are not entirely sure of what their own priorities are in getting their estate in order.
In our previous post, we began discussing the importance of including an advance directive in the estate planning process. Doing so is lets health care providers and family know of one's medical wishes in the event that one is incapacitated and unable to communicate those wishes.
Many families, at some point, face difficult decisions regarding end-of-life for a loved one. Sometimes it isn't clear what call to make in the moment, or what the loved one would prefer if they could speak for themselves.
Under the Tax Relief Act of 2010, the federal lifetime gift exemption was increased to $5 million per person, or $10 million per married couple. That number applies to estate, lifetime gifts, and generation skipping transfer tax. As a recent article in Forbes points out, with such a generous increase in the lifetime gift exemption amount, and with the uncertainty about when that number will change, many are now taking advantage of the ability transfer assets with little or no federal gift tax consequences.
The status of a married Georgia couple's assets is important for estate planning purposes. Although many couples have separate bank accounts it is important to realize that your spouse will likely not have immediate access to your funds if something were to happen to you. Therefore it might be prudent to establish a joint account to provide for common expenses such as the mortgage in the event of an emergency.
Wills are not just for elderly Georgians who have substantial wealth. Wills and estate planning are also essential for Georgia parents of any age. It is especially important for young Georgia parents to have an estate plan to establish a guardian for any minor children.
In our last post we discussed the federal estate tax exclusions that Georgia women can take advantage of. Everyone is entitled to a $5 million federal estate tax exclusion, but this amount can be shifted between spouses. This $5 million tax exclusion is not just for transfers of wealth upon a person's death however.
Estate planning is a matter of financial literacy, but the estate planning field is still primarily dominated by men. Georgia women should make sure that they are at least equally involved in the estate planning process because the consequences of not being involved in the estate planning process are frequently more serious for women than men.
In our previous post we discussed some of the political infighting surrounding the federal estate tax. Democrats generally want to increase the tax and lower the individual exemption, and republicans generally favor a lower estate tax with a higher individual exemption.