Estate Planning Overview

Planning for death is a process with many legal implications, so it is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that all of your paperwork is in order. Our firm handles estate planning documents frequently and can help you create a plan that works for you and your family.

Typical strategies and instruments that are used to organize one’s assets and plan an estate include:

  • Gifts. Gifts transfer property from a donor to a donee without consideration. They are useful in that they help to avoid part of one’s estate from being taxed, because some gifts are not taxable.
  • Title transfers. This is another way to reduce estate taxation. Title transfers involve holding title to property by multiple owners with a right of survivorship, such as tenants by the entirety (a married couple holding ownership) or joint tenancy. In each of these cases, the decedent’s share or title will transfer to the surviving partial owner.
  • Wills. A will outlines a decedent’s wishes and if properly drafted, can help to avoid some portion of estate taxes. This disposes of a person’s property according to his or her wishes written in the document.
  • Trusts. Trusts are common practice to avoid estate taxation and refer to the transfer of property while alive to avoid taxation upon death. In this case, when the decedent passes away, the ownership of the property will be transferred to the trust and will no longer be owned by the decedent or the estate.
  • Life Insurance. Purchasing life insurance is also a very common and effective way to avoid a federal estate tax. A life insurance policy names a specific beneficiary who will receive the proceeds upon the death of the insured. The proceeds from the policy are not considered part of the decedent’s assets.

Estate planning is a complex process that can be made easier with the right legal counsel who will help ensure that your wishes are fulfilled upon your death. Contact the experienced lawyers at our firm to help guide you through the estate planning process.

If you have questions about estate planning, or would like to schedule a consultation, call 1-833-RINALDO, or fill out our contact form.