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estate planning Archives

Dealing with timeshares in estate planning

Timeshares allow Louisiana residents to use their favorite vacation properties for designated weeks each year and can reduce their travel expenses considerably, but selling them can be difficult even in a booming real estate market. Timeshare purchases once included deeds like other real estate transactions, but they are generally sold today on what is known as a right to use basis. This is the same kind of legal arrangement used by gyms and spas to offer memberships. When timeshare owners pass away, their heirs are not usually required to continue making annual maintenance fees.

How estate planning benefits small business owners

Louisiana fans of Aretha Franklin or Prince won't want to follow in their footsteps when it comes to estate planning. Neither had a will despite being worth $80 million and $300 million respectively when they died. Dying without a will means that the government plays a significant role in determining how assets are distributed.

How others can learn from celebrity estate planning errors

People in Louisiana may want to avoid the errors of celebrities such as Aretha Franklin and Prince who died without estate plans. It's important to note that estate planning is not just for people who have wealth and fame. Creating an estate plan ensures that a person's wishes are carried out.

Planning for the hours or days following death or incapacity

Louisiana residents may put a comprehensive estate plan into place for a number of reasons. Wills ensure that assets will be distributed in a manner that testators approve of and trusts may be used to reduce tax exposure and avoid the public scrutiny of the probate process. However, peace of mind may be an estate plan's greatest benefit. Estate planning documents provide clear instructions for how assets should be distributed and children cared for should an individual die or become incapacitated, but they may not be of much use in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy.

Accounting for the human side of estate planning

Louisiana residents have the ability to appoint other people to act on their behalf in certain situations. For instance, an individual or entity may act as a financial or health care proxy while a person is alive. An executor is the person who is responsible for overseeing an estate's affairs after a person dies. Financial account designees may have the power to make decisions on a person's behalf.

Why it is important to fully fund a trust

When people in Louisiana plan for the future, trusts can be an essential part of an estate plan. The flexibility and control that they provide can help people to create a comprehensive plan for their assets that supports their loved ones over time and avoids the difficulties that can come with probate. However, in order to make a trust operational, it is crucial to not only create the relevant trust documents but also to make sure that the trust is fully funded with all of the property that is to be included.

Trusts that have become unpopular with the increasing rates

It is important to keep up with the changing times. For instance, even though low interest rates have been the norm for the past decade, the fact that rates have been increasing lately means that estate planners need to adjust their strategies accordingly. A client living in Louisiana might be advised to use a different type of trust today than they would have been a year ago.

Estate planning for separated spouses

Celebrity deaths like those of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have drawn light to a particular issue in estate planning that can be just as significant for everyday families in Louisiana. While many spouses separate before divorcing and may hesitate to file divorce papers even as they lead separate lives, this can have unanticipated impacts on how key decisions and assets are handled in case of one spouse's death or incapacity. There are a number of reasons that can delay a formal divorce filing, especially if the separation is amicable; these can include informally handling child custody or sorting out the complications of businesses or other investments.

Proper valuation of collectibles important for estate plan

People who are considering estate planning in Louisiana should think not only about financial and real estate assets but collectibles and other assets as well. The Internal Revenue Service defines the term collectible to include works of art, antiques, precious metals and gems, rugs and other things that people might collect. The IRS has the power to make the determination whether a particular item is a collectible.

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