Surveys by various organizations show that only about one-third of all Americans have created a last will and testament, the essential building block of estate planning. The reasons for not having put a will in place range from “no idea how” to “I’m not wealthy enough.”
If you have ever needed to help make decisions about the funeral and disposition of remains after a loved one has died, you understand how many details there are in the process. You may also understand how difficult it can be to make any decision in the wake of a death. Grief makes choices challenging.
A will, or last will and testament, is a document that names your beneficiaries after you pass and it designates which of your assets each will receive. Estate planning is essential for anyone who cares about how their passing impacts their spouse, children, or beneficiaries.
Simple wills do two basic things: Allow you to say who gets your property and assets and if you have minor children, who raises your children if something catastrophic were to happen to you. This might be the exact goal you're looking to accomplish, and can be a great starting point for an estate plan; however, protecting your family carrying out your wishes can be much more complicated.
While legally you may not need all-new estate planning documents if you move to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed by a local attorney in your new home.
With the federal estate tax exemption possibly about to be lowered, it may be time to think about steps you can take to keep your estate from being taxed. An irrevocable life insurance trust allows you to pass on money to your heirs while avoiding both the federal estate tax, as well as any applicable state estate tax.