Value of the estate at the federal level and applicable state law.

Winding up the estate administration absent challenges to the estate via creditors or family members.

When one inherits an IRA, the first priority should be to understand the potential tax implications and to avoid any unnecessary penalties. The next step would be to determine whether to take a lump sum distribution, roll-over, or invest their inherited IRA. Each situation is unique and the tax implication and overall estate goals would determine.

Contact a qualified estate planner to discuss estate planning options. Collaboration with between your trusted financial planner, insurance agent, and accountant is also important. An integrated and holistic estate plan should take into consideration the advice of your trusted team of professionals.

Yes. The accountant must not make the decision to serve lightly as there are possible business and legal consequences of serving as a Trustee of a client's trust.

You need to know the local court rules and state law on the obligations and duties of the executor/executrix in your respective state.

The financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives your agent the ability to conduct financial matters on your behalf if you are unable. This power can be a springing or immediate delegation of power. The springing FPOA requires a medical determination or familial determination before the agent can act on behalf of the principal.

It varies state to state, but it is a legally recognize fee that the estate representative is entitled to based on the representative services they provide to the estate.

Up to $11.4 million per individual at the federal level.

Trust wills are wills that contain provisions for a testamentary trust to be established upon the death of the individual.

How much does an estate plan cost?
For individuals average cost is $500 for a simple will package and $1400 for a simple trust. Couples will vary depending upon whether it is a second marriage, Medicaid planning is involved, and/or the number of sub-trusts, involved among other factors. On average, a simple married will plan is $750 and $1800 for a simple trust plan.

They do not have many responsibilities unless they are also the successor trustee of a trust. Some states establish a duty for the beneficiary to not impede the trust administration process if they are not acting in the dual role of a trustee/beneficiary. The laws vary from state to state.

The laws of intestacy governing the particular state the decedent dies in will dictate how the decedent's property is distributed.


Some plan is better than no plan. There is a misconception that you have to have a large estate to have a trust. A trust can be a useful tool, if properly funded, for an individual to pass their estate outside of the probate process.
Trusts provide a level of privacy, potential asset protection for beneficiaries, and a way to control the distribution of your estate based on certain conditions being met. Thus, a trust can provide more control post death.
A will usually involves an outright distribution of assets post death that may not be advisable for families that have young children, family members with addiction, or large estates.

Simply stated, estate planning is the process of deciding during your life how you want your estate to be managed post death or during incapcitation.

It is usually a 9-12 month court process whereby heirs are identified, creditors are notified, and the estate is distributed according to the wishes of the decedent. A personal representative is appointed and given the authority to oversee the probate process on behalf of the decedent.

A grant of authority to an agent empowering them to make financial or medical decisions on behalf of the principal.

Yes. However, you must make sure to comply with state statute or the will may be defective. It seems like a simple process, but for a few hundred dollars more, it may be worth making sure that the procedural aspects are followed properly through hiring an attorney. Additionally, there are professional considerations that a qualified attorney can advise you on that the online "will in a box" providers will not. Each situation is unique.

Yesterday. Once you are of legal age, you should start considering options for estate planning. If you have an insurance or retirement plan, have you named the right beneficiaries? If you are 25 and in a catastrophic car accident, who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable? If you are a young family, have you considered naming a guardian to oversee your children if both spouses should die at the same time?

The process usually takes 9-12 months.

An executor fee is the portion of a deceased individual’s estate that is paid to the will’s executor.
The executor is in charge of locating the assets that make up the estate, notifying beneficiaries that the deceased has died, paying off the deceased’s debts and transferring the assets that remain to the estate’s beneficiaries.
In exchange for these services, executors typically receive some sort of compensation. The specific amount can vary considerably state to state.

If you would like to modify your will, the proper venue to do this is through a codicil. A codicil is an additional formal legal document, added to the will, through which the will maker (also known as a “testator” or "testatrix") can make valid changes to his or her estate plan.
The testator/testatrix must execute the codicil with the same formalities as were required for the will. In most jurisdictions, this involves the signature of at least one witness.
Handwritten notes may qualify as a valid testamentary disposition. This is more likely to occur if the handwritten changes are entirely in the will maker’s handwriting and are signed and dated.



Member, National Guardianship Association