Women And Estate Planning Basics
By Frederick J. Dawson, ChFC, CLU
When it comes to estate planning, women have unique concerns. The fact is that women live an average of 4.8 years longer than men.*
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan is a map that reflects the way you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in case of your incapacity or death.
Planning for incapacity
Incapacity can happen to anyone at any time. Health-care directives can help others make sound decisions about your health when you are unable to.These might include:
• Living will
• Durable power of attorney for health care (health-care proxy)
• Do not resuscitate (DNR) order
• Joint ownership
• Durable power of attorney
• Living trust
Wills and probate
A will is quite often the cornerstone of an estate plan. It is a legal document that directs how your property is to be distributed when you die. You can also create a trust in your will. Most wills have to be probated. The will is filed with the probate court. The executor collects assets, pays debts and taxes owed, and distributes any remaining property to the rightful heirs.
What happens if you die without a will or an estate plan?
Whether or not you have a will, some property passes automatically to a joint owner or to a designated beneficiary.
A trust is a versatile estate planning tool that can protect against incapacity; avoid probate; minimize taxes; allow professional management of assets; provide safeguards for minor children, elderly parents, and other beneficiaries; and protect assets from future creditors. Most importantly, trusts can provide a means to administer property on an ongoing basis according to your wishes, even after your death. You can create a trust while you are alive (a living or inter vivos trust) or at your death (a testamentary trust).
When you dispose of your property during your lifetime or at your death, your transfers may be subject to federal gift tax, federal estate tax, and federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. Your transfers may also be subject to state taxes.
Making gifts during one’s life is a common estate planning strategy that can serve to avoid probate and minimize transfer taxes. One way to do this is to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion, which lets you give up to $14,000 (in 2014 and 2015) to as many individuals as you want to gift tax free.
*Some Content Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2014.
*NCHS Data Brief, No. 168, October 2014.
Fred Dawson, ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) has over 30 years of comprehensive wealth management experience. He is Executive Vice President of Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc. and a founding principal partner of the firm. Successful women are prominent among Fred’s diverse domestic and international client base of professionals, retirees, professional musicians and business owners. In 2008 Fred was cited by Delaware Today Magazine as one of Delaware’s Top Financial Advisors. Criteria are not necessarily based on client satisfaction or advisor performance. Fred received a State of Delaware Senate Tribute in 1999 for his “long and distinguished record of service to his community, his country, his state and his region.”
* Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc. is an Independent Registered Investment Advisory Firm with the State of DE.
* Securities Offered Through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC
* Any opinions are those of Fred Dawson and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James.
* You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional
Fred is frequently sought after as a public speaker on financial matters. If your group or organization would like to hear Fred speak merely contact his office at 302-999-9330.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary, no obligation initial consultation contact Fred’s office at 302-999-9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frederick J. Dawson, ChFC, CLU
Wealth Manager, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.
Executive Vice President, Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc.
Bassett, Dawson & Foy, Inc.
E.A. Delle Donne Corporate Center
1011 Centre Road, Suite 110
Wilmington, DE 19805