Legacy Wealth Planning by SextonLawAR


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          You Need to Determine Now
      How Your Legacy Will Be Passed On
 to Your Heirs; If Not, Your Hard Work May Be
  of No Benefit to Your Family in the Long Run

                DEBORAH SEXTON
                                            Estate planning allows you to
                                            make sure your assets will be
                                            distributed the way you want
                                            them to be and to save as
                                            much as possible on estate and
                                            other applicable taxes.

     Death is an eventuality that most people do not want to dwell on, much less
     plan for. However, if you delay in planning for the future of your intended
     beneficiaries, they may not receive what you want them to when you pass
     away. They may also be subjected to additional administration costs and
     unnecessary taxes without a proper plan. Estate planning allows you to
     make sure your assets will be distributed the way you want them to be and
     to save as much as possible on estate and other applicable taxes.

     Basic estate planning is important for everyone. However, if you are a
     resident in the Fayetteville area and have been fortunate enough to create a
     strong financial base for your family, then it is vital that you plan for the
     future. You need to determine now how your legacy will be passed on to
     your heirs. If not, your hard work may be of no benefit to your family in the
     long run.

     Legacy Wealth Planning is essential to helping clients preserve their
     financial wealth using such estate planning instruments as Wills, Powers of
     Attorney, Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Living Wills, Family Limited
     Partnerships and Charitable Gifting Strategies.

Legacy Wealth Planning             www.arkansas-estateplanning.com
     A comprehensive estate plan should always address such matters as who
     will look after of you and manage your assets in the unfortunate event that
     you become incapacitated. Another important concern to be addressed is
     who will care for your children if you pass away while they are still minors.
     Most estate plans should include, at the very least, a durable power of
     attorney and a will. But there are many other legal instruments that can
     help you plan for your heirs after your death.

     An estate planning attorney can assist you in creating the comprehensive
     plan that will best fit your needs. There are many legal issues that need to
     be considered and addressed as a legacy wealth plan is developed. This
     article will address some of the more common areas that estate planning
     attorneys are well-equipped to handle.

     Did you know that when you pass away, legal
     judgments and certain debts you leave behind
     still have to be settled from your estate, before
     your assets are distributed to your heirs? That is
     why including asset protection in your legacy
     wealth plan is very important. Your debts can
     have serious financial consequences for your
     heirs if your assets are not protected from creditors.     Asset protection
     simply means lawfully arranging your assets so that they are not subject to
     creditor claims.

     This must be done in the proper way, as each state has specific laws to
     protect creditors with judgments from individuals who attempt to transfer

Legacy Wealth Planning             www.arkansas-estateplanning.com
     assets into the names of relatives in order to avoid judgments. As such,
     asset protection must be planned for well in advance of any threat of
     judgments. Once your short-term and long-terms financial goals are in
     place, an estate planning attorney can assist in determining which assets
     are exempt from creditors. Those that are not, should then be carefully
     repositioned in a way that will protect them from potential creditors after
     your death.

     A very important estate planning issue that affects legacy wealth is estate
     tax. Currently, you can give a gift or bequeath up to $5.25 million in assets
     without incurring any taxes. This is known as the personal estate tax
     exemption. If, however, your total assets exceed that sum, you need a
     legacy plan that takes into consideration your estate tax liability.      An
                               effective estate planning attorney can take steps
             ●     ●     ●
                               to help you reduce the impact of estate taxes.
        An effective estate    Unlike some states, Arkansas does not impose an
        planning attorney      additional estate tax.
         can take steps to
       help you reduce the     In addition to the personal estate tax exemption,
         impact of estate      many people are entitled to a marital deduction.
               taxes.          This allows married couples to transfer property
             ●     ●     ●     to each other, either during their lifetime or at
                               their death, without paying federal estate or gift
     taxes. When the gifting spouse dies, the value of the property that passes to
     the surviving spouse will be deducted from the gross estate of the deceased
     spouse. This amount is unlimited.

Legacy Wealth Planning             www.arkansas-estateplanning.com
     The giving of charitable donations is not only rewarding, but it also
     provides its own tax advantages, as well. To encourage philanthropy, the
     federal government has created certain tax deductions for donations to
     qualified charities. This benefit can be put to use in legacy wealth planning.
     There are some issues to be considered, however. Whether you gift a
     specific dollar amount or a set percentage to charity will obviously have an
     impact on the amount of your assets your heirs will ultimately inherit.

     If your financial status has changed markedly since you established your
     legacy wealth plan, you most likely need to revisit your plan to see if any
     changes need to be made. If your will or estate plan distributes your estate
                                                    by percentages, then changes
                                                    in value will not have any
                                                    effect. If, however, you left
                                                    specific   amounts to your
                                                    named      beneficiaries,     an
                                                    increase or decrease in the
                                                    value of your estate could
                                                    have consequences.

                                                    For example, if your estate
     plan donates $100,000 to your favorite charity and the remainder to your
     heirs, a marked reduction in the value of your estate could very possibly
     mean your heirs will not get nearly as much as you intend.

Legacy Wealth Planning             www.arkansas-estateplanning.com
     Also consider this scenario: You decided to give your two children different
     assets with the same value. For example, you leave your son a house worth
     $500,000 and your daughter stock also valued at $500,000. If the value of
     either asset has increased or decreased significantly, then the gifts to your
     children will no longer be of equal value. Therefore, it is important to
     update your estate plan whenever the value of your assets has changed. It
     is also important to consider what effect the change in value of your estate
     may have on your estate tax liability.

Legacy Wealth Planning              www.arkansas-estateplanning.com
     About the Author
     Deborah K. Sexton
                              As the sole attorney in the Fayetteville law firm of
                              Deborah Sexton Law Office, Deb oversees a
                              practice devoted to providing clients with the best
                              in estate planning.

                              Deborah Sexton, C.P.A., J.D., L.L.M., combines
                              an extensive background in accounting with a
                              wide range of legal experience to provide her
                              clients with a uniquely practical perspective. An
                              attorney since 1983, she now devotes her practice
                              primarily to estate planning and elder law.

     After obtaining her undergraduate degree in accounting from Abilene
     Christian University in Abilene, Texas, she worked in Dallas in public
     accounting for several years, and then went to the University of Arkansas
     Law School in Fayetteville. Upon graduating from law school, she went on
     to obtain an L.L.M. degree in Taxation from New York University.

     Deborah Sexton Law Office

     2766 Millennium Drive
     Fayetteville, AR 72703
     Phone: (479) 443-0062
     Fax: (479) 443-2001

Legacy Wealth Planning            www.arkansas-estateplanning.com

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