Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning & Wills
—Learn why you must have a basic understanding of estate planning and wills

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You already know that your time on earth is limited.

However do you know that it is your responsibility to put a plan in place that provides your heirs (or family members) with a real chance for success after your transition?

How do you go about putting an effective plan in place that addresses your estate planning and wills in a comprehensive manner? 

Actually, it can be done! 

If you have the right approach and you are properly prepared and dedicated to achieve the success that you know is in your future you can do so!

With the January 2013 update of taxes—estate taxes receive some clarification as the first $5 million in individual estates and $10 million for family estates are now exempted from the estate tax.  

After that the rate will be 40%, up from 35%—and the exemption amounts are now indexed for inflation.

Most consumers won't have to deal with the complexities of estate taxes! 

However you should still have an awareness of when it might affect you—as your goal should always be to increase your net worth!

All consumers should have a valid will created that addresses their wishes for the transfer of their assets after their transition.


Be sure that you are aware of all of the following:

Trusts are also an effective way of protecting your family and planning for the future. Utilize highly effective Estate Planning Attorneys if you are at the point where you are considering setting up a Trust as it can be fairly complex and must be set up in the proper manner in order for it to be valid and carry out your intended wishes.

“Properly Titling Your Property” is another way to pass on wealth and assets to your family and loved ones. Be sure to give this area serious consideration, and again be sure to use competent highly effective professionals.

“Stepped-Up Basis” is another area that you should be concerned about as some assets will receive favorable step-up basis treatment and some won’t.

• In your estate know what the basis of your assets will be at the time of your transition and plan your tax strategy nowwhile you are alive!

By doing so your heirs will have a blueprint of what needs to be done after your transitionas the adjustment period can be very difficult.

If an asset receives stepped-up basis treatment—that could mean lower taxes for your heirs in the future.  

If, on the other hand an asset does not receive stepped-up basis treatment, that could mean higher taxes for your heirs.

·  Use of Insurance

You can use insurance as a major tool to transfer wealth or increase your savings that you can later pass on to your heirs. 

You can use insurance to protect the assets that you have accumulated and pass on the assets
and the insurance proceeds in a manner that you choose—while “you” are alive!

* Gifting—you and your spouse can "each" gift up to $13,000 yearly without incurring any tax consequences.  Gifting is often used to reduce an estate for Estate Planning purposes.

A gifting strategy can also be used in education planning.  In either case competent legal advice should be obtained.

Also be sure to appropriately consider:

Living Wills/Health Care Directive

Power of Attorney

As a consumer you must put an estate plan and/or will in place that addresses your intentions now—while you are of sound mind. 

You control the ability to direct the way that your assets and insurance proceeds are disbursed.

Be sure to use the control that you now have to address your concerns. 

Whether it be for estate planning and wills or any other area of your personal finances you must use the control that you now have to make sound decisions!

You don't have to let your State
or others determine where the things that you value most—end up at!  

You can transfer your "net worth" in the manner that you choose—if you make the decision to do  so—today!

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About This Article:


The above article was written by Thomas (TJ) UnderwoodThomas (TJ) Underwood is a former fee-only financial planner, a former top producing loan processor and is currently a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia. 

He is the writer behind The Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books that include The Wealth Increaser, Home Buyer 411 The Smart Guide to Buying Your Home, Home Seller 411 The Smart Guide to Selling Your Home, and  Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this MILLENNIUM.

In addition he is also the writer who created The 3 Step Structured Approach to Managing Your Finances, and CREDIT & FINANCE IMPROVEMENT MADE EASY—NEW GUIDE that you can download right now "(at MIMIMAL cost $3.95)" to learn more about his writing style and how you can achieve "more" success in the current economy.

He is the creator of TheWealthIncreaser.com where he regularly blogs about helping consumers improve their credit, finance and real estate pursuits in an intelligent, consistent and proactive manner. 

He’s always looking for ways to make intelligent finance improvement happen for those who “sincerely desire” success in their future. He was the first financial planner to coin the phrase "financially alert mind"  and he consistently writes in a style that is designed to provide consumers the ability to take control of their lives and achieve great results.

You can contact him from a number of sources but the most direct way is to contact him through the contact us block that can be found at the bottom of this page.  You can also get highly relevant tips on "living your life more abundantly" and link to TheWealthIncreaser.com and possibly earn revenue by logging on to TheWealthIncreaser.com.

He is also an IRS registered tax planning professional with over 30 years of tax experience and can be reached at:




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