Estate Planning Basics
(by Attorney Denis Clifford)
Why read Estate Planning Basics
Buy: Estate Planning Basics:
deciding who will get the
property after you die and how that property will be transferred at your death.
Buy: Make Your Own Living Trust: setting up a trust.
Buy: The Trustee's Legal Companion: how to administer a trust.
an easy-to-understand guide to wills, trusts, and other documents you need to
protect your loved ones ... Find out about:
- making your will
- naming someone to take care of young children
- easy ways to avoid probate
- creating a living trust to avoid probate
- state and federal estate tax basics
- who to name as your executor
- how to disinherit heirs
- living wills and durable powers of attorney for finances
Introduction: The Trustee's Companion
Brief introduction to this practical workbook.
1. A First Look at Estate Planning
- Evaluating Your Personal Situation
- Choosing Your Beneficiaries
- Providing for Young Children
- Planning for Incapacity
- Transferring Your Property After You Die
- Estate Taxes
- Making Changes
- More Estate Planning Resources From Nolo
2. Your Beneficiaries
- Direct Beneficiaries
- Alternate Beneficiaries
- Beneficiary Complexities
- Talking It Over
- Naming Someone to Care for Young Children
- Naming Someone to Manage Your Child's Property
- Choosing How Your Children's Property Should Be Managed
- Naming Children as Beneficiaries of Life Insurance
- Tax-Saving Educational Investment Plans
- Leaving Property to Adult Children
- Leaving Property to Other People's Children
4. Planning for Incapacity: Medical Care and Finances
- Medical Decisions
- Financial Decisions
- Will Requirements
- Types of Wills
- Using a Will in Your Estate Planning
- Preparing Your Will
- Challenges to Your Will
6. Living Trusts
- How a Living Trust Works
- Do You Need a Living Trust?
- Living Trusts and Taxes
- Living Trusts and Young Children
- Shared Living Trusts for Couples
- Making Key Decisions About Your Living Trust
- Preparing Your Living Trust Documents
7. Other Ways to Avoid Probate
- Pay-on-Death Bank Accounts
- Transfer-on-Death Accounts for Securities
- Transfer-on-Death Car Registration
- Transfer-on-Death Deeds for Real Estate
- Joint Tenancy
- Tenancy by the Entirety
- Community Property With Right of Survivorship
- Simplified Probate Proceedings
- Life Insurance
8. Retirement Plans as Estate Planning Devices
- Individual Retirement Programs
- Choosing Beneficiaries for Individual Retirement Programs
- Retirement Plans and Taxes
9. Estate Tax
- Federal Estate Tax Exemptions
- State Estate and Inheritance Tax
- Gift Tax
- The Federal Income-Tax Basis of Inherited Property
10. Reducing Federal Estate Taxes
- Making Gifts During Life
- The AB Trust
- Other Tax-Saving Trusts
- Disclaiming Gifts
11. Property Control Trusts
- Marital Property Control Trusts for Second or Subsequent Marriages
- Special Needs Trusts for People With Disabilities
- Education Trusts
- Spendthrift Trusts
- Flexible Trusts
- Will You Need a Lawyer?
- Using Lawyers
- Doing Your Own Research
13. Finalizing Your Estate Plan
- Storing Your Estate Planning Documents
- Revising Your Estate Plan
Glossary and Appendixes
Terms include [pp. 307-310]:
- Affidavit: "A written sworn statement of fact."
Beneficiary: "A person or entity that is legally entitled to receive
gifts under a legal document such as a will or trust."
- Distribution: "A payment of trust principal or income to a beneficiary
by a trustee."
- Durable power of attorney: "A document that appoints someone
to act on behalf of the person who created it ([that person being] called
'the principal') and that remains effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
The person authorized to act (called the 'attorney in fact' or agent) can make
health care decisions and/or handle financial matters for the principal,
depending on the authority granted in the document."
- Estate: "All property left behind at death."
Executor: "The person named in a will who manages the estate,
deals with the probate court, collects assets, pays debts, and distributes property
according to the terms of the will."
- Fiduciary: "A person who is responsible for someone else's assets,
such as an executor or trustee. A fiduciary is required by law to always act in the best interest
of the beneficiaries."
- Grantor: "A person who puts property in a trust."
- Irrevocable trust: "A trust that cannot be altered or
revoked. A living trust becomes irrevocable when the settlor dies."
- Living trust: "A revocable trust that is created by a living settlor
and benefits other beneficiaries after the settlor's death."
- Living will: "A directive to physicians regarding the level of end-of-life
medical care you want if you are unable to communicate your wishes."
- Personal property: "What you own that's not land or
buildings attached to land, such as cars, bank accounts, and jewel."
- Personal representative: "The person named in a will to take care
of the property of the person who has died. If there's a probate, this person is named
as the executor."
- Principal: "The assets held in a trust."
- Probate: "A court proceedings after death."
- Real property: "Land or
buildings attached to land."
Settlor: "A person who establishes a trust, also called
a grantor or trustor."
- Tax basis: "The purchase price of an asset plus any improvements."
- Testate: "Dying with a valid will."
- Testator: "A person who makes a will."
- Trust: "A legal agreement under which a person or institution
(the trustee) controls property given to the trust be a person (the settlor or grantor)
for the benefit of a person or institution (the beneficiary)."
Trustee: "A person of institution that manages a trust and makes decisions
about investments and discretionary trust distributions."
- State information.
- Sample trust.