Estate Planning Essentials
EstateBee’s Estate Planning Essentials introduces you to estate planning and shows you how you can make an effective estate plan quickly and easily without the need for a lawyer. You’ll learn about estate planning devices such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, probate avoidance methods and more. To help you get a fuller understanding, particular attention is paid throughout to beneficiaries, children, disinheritance, incapacity, estate taxes and inheritance taxes. If you want to prepare an estate plan, this book is for you.
- Determine what assets you can gift to your loved ones.
- Decide how best to do that to avoid delays and costs.
- Provide for children and other beneficiaries.
- Plan for medical incapacity.
- Save on legal fees & taxes.
- And much more….
“Estate planning may be described as the process of providing for the future management of your affairs should the time come when you are unable to do so yourself. It is also the means by which you arrange your affairs in a manner that will maximize the value of your estate passing to your desired beneficiaries following your death.” [Extract from Estate Planning Essentials]
If you don’t have a comprehensive estate plan, or indeed any plan at all, these are just some of the things that you should expect:
- Your assets may be frozen and their value may deplete as a result – If you become incapacitated prior to your death, your family (including your spouse) may be left powerless to manage and deal with your assets (unless you have made a durable power of attorney). This can cause a depletion in the value of your assets if they need to be sold or managed in order to preserve value. Your family may even be prevented from selling your assets to raise funds to pay for your healthcare costs (if necessary).
- Your family will have to make difficult medical decisions for you – If you haven’t made (1) a living will to instruct your medical teams regarding your desired medical treatment or (2) a healthcare power of attorney to appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself, then all of these decisions will fall to be made by a family member chosen by a court in accordance with state law. The person chosen may not be someone you would wish to have such responsibility or power. Worse still, without any advance instructions from you, they may make medical decisions on your behalf that you would not have wanted.
- You will have no control over how your assets are distributed – Unless you have made a Last Will & Testament, placed your assets in a Living Trust or utilised transfer on death provisions for bank and brokerage accounts, your assets will be distributed in accordance with your state’s intestacy laws and any wishes that you have will be ignored.
- Payment of unnecessary probate fees & long delays – If you allow your most valuable assets to go through probate, the value of your estate may be substantially depleted due to high probate fees incurred. Moreover, most of your assets will be frozen during the probate process and your beneficiaries may have to wait several months (or even, in the worst case scenario, years) to receive their inheritances. This can cause short term hardship if your family need access to funds and/or assets from your estate. By having a Revocable Living Trust in your estate plan, you should be able avoid these fees and delays for the most part.
- No control over who cares for your children – In the absence of appointing a guardian to take care of your children after your death, a court will usually decide on that. If you nominate a guardian under a last will and testament or otherwise, that will hold a lot of persuasive authority in the eyes of the court as it will want to do what is in the best interests of your children and will be guided by your wishes in that respect – that is of course if you have formally set them out.
- No long-term property management arrangements for your children – You can, for the most part, only make these arrangements using a last will or a living trust. In the absence of making these arrangements, a court will appoint a guardian of its choosing to manage any inheritances that your children might receive. Again, that may not be a person you want managing your children’s inheritance.
- No control over who wraps up your affairs – State intestacy laws will determine who is appointed as your personal representative and who will be responsible for closing your estate.
To help you easily understand the estate planning process and the options available to you, our lawyers have put together a plain English and easy to understand book on estate planning. It’s called “Estate Planning Essentials“. We invite you to read it……
If you like this book, please leave a Review on Amazon.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Estate Planning Basics
What is Estate Planning?
What’s Included in Your Estate?
How to Plan Your Estate Do I Need to Plan My Estate?
Children and Guardians
Last Will and Testament
Revocable Living Trusts
Executors and Probate
Assets that Don’t go Through Probate
Planning for Incapacity – Power of Attorney for Finance and Property
Planning for Incapacity – Advance Healthcare Directives
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Reducing Taxes on Your Estate
Chapter 2 - Children, Guardians and Property Management
What is a Guardian?
Sole and Joint Guardians
Appointment of a Guardian
Who Can be a Guardian?
Should You Appoint Guardians for Your Minor Children?
What to Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Your Child
What Happens When No Guardian is Named in Your Will?
Management of Children’s Property
Options for Property Management
Appointment of a Property Guardian
Uniform Transfer to Minors’ Act
Individual Child Trusts
Children’s Pot Trusts
Providing for Children with Special Needs
Whom Should You Choose as a Trustee?
Chapter 3 - Gifts and Beneficiaries
Gifting Your Assets
How to Make a Gift
Types of Gifts
Specific Item Gifts
Gift of the Residuary Estate
Types of Beneficiaries
Specific Gift Beneficiary
Who May Not be a Beneficiary?
Gifts to Spouses
Community Property States
Common Law States
Gifts to Minors
Unmarried or Same-Sex Couples
Gifts to Charities
Imposing Conditions on the Receipt of Gifts
Disinheriting a Spouse
Disinheriting a Child
Matters Affecting the Distribution of Your Assets
Family Allowance for Support
The Exemption for the Benefit of the Family
Right to Remain in the Family Home
Right to Receive Family Residence
Right to Automobiles
Right to Reimbursement of Funeral Costs
Abatement of Assets
Finalizing Your Plan
Lawsuits by Spouses
Disinheriting Your Children
Chapter 4 - Last Will and Testaments
Principal Components of a Will
Types of Wills
Making a Valid Will
Age of Majority
Mental Capacity and Undue Influence
Why Make a Will?
Overview of Executors’ Duties
Who Should be Your Executor?
Executing a Will
Matters that can Impact Wills
No Contest Clauses
Challenging a Will
Apportionment and Distribution of Assets on Intestacy
Share of Surviving Spouse
Share of Descendents
Share of Parents
Share of Other Relatives
Do I Need a Lawyer
Chapter 5 - Executors & Probate
What is an Executor?
What is Probate?
Who can be Your Executor?
An Overview of an Executor’s Duties, Powers and Risks
Powers of an Executor
Protecting Your Executor from Liability
Protection Under the Terms of Your Will
Obtain the Consent of Beneficiaries
Take out an Executor’s Insurance Bond
Obtain the Consent of the Probate Court
Compensating your Executor
Chapter 6 - Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
Types of Powers of Attorney
General Power of Attorney
Limited Power of Attorney
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Ordinary and Durable Powers of Attorney
Springing Powers of Attorney
Mutual Powers of Attorney
Cascading Powers of Attorney
Capacity to Make a Power of Attorney
What Does “Being Incapable or Incapacitated” Mean?
Should I Make a Power of Attorney?
What Happens Without a Power of Attorney?
What if You Don’t Think You Need a Power of Attorney?
The Relationship Between Principal and Agent
Who Can be an Agent?
Joint or Joint and Independent Agents
Scope of an Agent’s Powers
Duties and Responsibilities of an Agent
Choosing an Agent
What Laws Govern My Power of Attorney?
Witness to a Power of Attorney
Commencement of a Power of Attorney
Revocation of a Power of Attorney
Important Points & Recommendation
Chapter 7 - Advance Medical Directives
What is an Advance Medical Directive?
Why do I Need an Advance Medical Directive?
Living Wills and Their Background
How Living Wills Work
What is a Terminal Condition?
What is a Persistent Comatose Condition?
What is a Persistent Vegetative Condition?
What Life Support Choices Do I Have Within My Living Will?
Should I Make a Living Will?
State Requirements for Life Sustaining Medical Treatment
Appointing an Agent to Revoke or Enforce Your Living Will
Finalizing Your Living Will
Terminating Advance Directives
Making Your Wishes Known
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Choosing a Healthcare Agent
Alternate Healthcare Agent
Do I Need a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will?
Chapter 8 - Probate Avoidance Measures
Pay on Death or Transfer on Death Accounts
Transfer on Death Securities
Life Insurance Proceeds
Joint Ownership of Property
Tenancy by the Entireties
Tenancy in Common
Revocable Living Trust
Gifts During Your Lifetime
Probate Free Transfers of Assets
Simplified Transfer Procedures for “Small Estates”
Chapter 9 - Revocable Living Trusts
What are Living Trusts?
Advantages of Living Trusts
Disadvantages of Living Trusts
The Role of the Initial Trustee
Appointing a Co-Trustee
The Role of the Successor Trustee
Role of Successor Trustee
During the Incapacity of the Grantor
Role of Successor Trustee Following the Death of the Grantor
Fiduciary Duties of the Successor Trustee
The Beneficiaries of Your Living Trust
Types of Living Trust
Living Trust for an Individual
Living Trusts for Couples
Transferring Assets to Your Living Trust
What Assets Should be Put in Your Living Trust?
Title to Assets Transferred to a Living Trust
Transferring Property to Your Trust
Cars, Boats and Other Vehicles
United States Savings Bonds
Publicly Quoted Stocks and Bonds
Revocation of your Living Trust
Chapter 10 - Educational Trusts and Pet Trusts
Can I Provide for My Pet Under a Will?
Setting Up a Pet Trust
Pet Guardian Options
Legal Owner of a Pet
Chapter 11 - Estate Taxes
Federal Estate and Gift Tax
What is the “Coupon” Amount?
How to Determine the Estate Tax?
State Death Tax
State Death Taxes are Paid by the Estate
The Recipient Pays State Inheritance Taxes
Marital Deduction Non-Citizen Spouses
Charitable Remainder Trust
Charitable Lead Trust
Other Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
Family Limited Partnerships
Special Use Real Estate
Chapter 12 - Same-Sex Married Couples, Unmarried Couples, And Divorced Couples
Same-Sex Married Couples
Unmarried Couples—Opposite-Sex and Same-Sex Partners
Chapter 13 - The Family Business
Creating a Business Estate Plan
Creating a Succession Plan
Business Estate Planning Options
Chapter 14 - Digital Estate Planning
Preparing a Digital Estate Plan
Making an Inventory of Digital Assets
Safely Storing Digital Assets
Choosing a Digital Executor
Instructions Regarding Your Digital Estate
Chapter 15 - Finalizing Your Plan
Deciding What Should be in Your Estate Plan
Management of Your Property and Finances During Incapacity
Making Healthcare Decisions During Incapacity
Appoint Guardians for Your Children
Assemble a List of Your Assets and Liabilities
Decide Who Will Receive Your Assets
Decide How and When Your Beneficiaries Will Receive Your Assets
Choosing People to Be in Charge
When to Do-it-Yourself and When to Include Lawyers
Storing Your Documents
Updating Your Estate Plan
Why Choose Estatebee
We’re proud to have helped thousands of people make online wills, trusts and powers of attorney over the past 20 years.
- Save Money – Our service is simpler and cheaper than using a lawyer.
- Lawyer Prepared Documents – You will be using documents which have been prepared, reviewed and pre-approved by lawyers with years of estate planning experience.
- Compliant with US Laws – You will be using tried and tested legal documents specifically tailored to comply with the laws of each state in the United States (except Louisiana).
- Advanced Features – Your documents will contain advanced lawyer-approved provisions not usually found in standard run-of-the-mill documents you find online.
- 20 Years in Business – EstateBee was one of the first businesses to start selling estate planning documents online back in 2000.
- Trusted by Thousands – We have helped thousands of people to make wills, trusts, and powers of attorney over the past 20 years.
- Bank Level Security – Your information is encrypted and secured safely using the same encryption technology used by banks.
Managed by lawyers
EstateBee was founded in 2000 by, and is managed by, experienced lawyers who are recognised experts in their fields.
Easy to use
We use our 20+ years of experience to help you ﬁgure out what you really want in a simple jargon-free way.
Help at every stage
Our customers are everything to us. So, we provide help to you at every stage of the document creation process.
We’ve helped raise millions for charity through donations left in our customers’ wills…
Confirm Your Email Address to Receive Your Discount
, thanks for joining EstateBee.
To receive your 20% discount code, you’ll need to verify your email address and activate your account.
We’ve sent an activation link to you by email to . Just click on the link in the email, confirm your details and you’re good to go.