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3: One Size Does Not Fit All

As you can see estate planning is not as simple as merely making out a will.

There are many complex issues to be addressed and one form or formula is not going to adequately cover every asset or every beneficiary.

  • Take a complete inventory of your personal property and assign realistic values to the assets. You may be surprised to learn the current value of an asset you are planning to give to a family member.
  • Make a list of your beneficiaries, duly noting any characteristics that may determine the method and circumstances by which you assign them certain assets. Remember beneficiaries may be organizations and charities such as the Roman Catholic Foundation, benefiting your favorite parish, school, or ministry, as well as individuals.
  • Keep your spouse in the loop from the get-go. It’s not only a matter of respect and consideration, but coordinating both plans often leads to additional savings for the estate. In reality it’s a good idea to discuss your plans with as many family members as possible.
  • Providing complete information to your estate planner is essential when preparing your estate plan and will go a long way toward the fulfillment of your final wishes, possibly reducing or even eliminating some tax liabilities.

Next: Minimizing Your Tax Liabilities

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