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Plan Your Own Estate: Passing on Your Assets and Your Values Legally and Efficiently


Plan Your Own Estate: Passing on Your Assets and Your Values Legally and Efficiently takes a straightforward and engaging “you”-oriented approach to dealing with one of life’s certainties--death. While you "can’t take it with you," this book empowers you to decide how your assets can best help your family when you are gone. Experienced attorney Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss concentrates into this book the experience she's had helping hundreds of families work through their estate plans. Whether you have modest or extensive assets, Plan Your Own Estate provides the knowledge you need to design your plan and the tools you need to move forward.

The starting place is your goals. Part 1 of the book asks, "What do you want to accomplish for yourself and your family?" The next step depends on you. Are you looking to educate yourself about how a will or trust is structured, or how tax law works? Part 2, Resource Guides, breaks down tough topics like these and delivers actionable information. Have questions about what your estate plan should say? Part 3, Planning Guides, goes through an attorney’s analysis in considering the most frequently asked estate planning questions. Thinking about creating your own estate plan, or hiring an attorney? Part 4, Action Guides, helps you start your estate plan and make sure it’s complete, or review any plan you may already have in place. 

Nobody likes talking about death, taxes, or disability--but not thinking about them will not make them go away. Plan Your Own Estate will help you make a plan, put it in place, and take control of how your money and your values are being passed to your family. This book includes:

  • Comprehensive “plain English” coverage of every aspect of planning your estate
  • Methods to protect your loved ones' inheritance from taxes, immaturity, lack of financial knowledge, incapacity, creditors, and predators
  • Planning guides for families with children, singles, second marriages, business owners, unmarried or same-sex couples, and more
  • Up-to-date information regarding changing laws and best practices

What you’ll learn

Through this book, you will be able to:

  • Create an estate plan that meets your goals, clearly communicates your intentions, and reduces the chance of family fighting when you are gone.
  • Gain the insight of an attorney’s thought processes, both legal and practical, and how to apply them to your personal situation.
  • Understand the structure of the documents at the heart of estate planning: wills, trusts, power of attorney, health care power, and other transfer devices designed to pass assets to your beneficiaries more easily.
  • Decipher tax laws to incorporate provisions in your estate plan to reduce or eliminate taxes, and deal with a changing tax code.
  • Master complicated legal terms and concepts.
  • Understand the probate process and its alternatives.

Who this book is for

Plan your Own Estate is for anyone who wants to preserve the value of assets and leave them to beneficiaries in the most efficient manner. The book is for married couples with children and grandchildren, singles, unmarried couples, non-citizens, and same-sex couples. It teaches readers how to reduce or eliminate the government as a beneficiary by taking advantage of tax-reduction strategies. No matter your marital status or wealth, Plan your Own Estate empowers you to achieve financial security for loved ones and other beneficiaries.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What Are Your Goals? 
  3. What Are Your Assets?  
  4. What Goes into a Will?
  5. Will Alternatives and Avoiding Probate
  6. Trust in Trusts 
  7. Rounding Out the Plan
  8. Taxes
  9. Gifting
  10. Insurance Trusts
  11. Advanced Tax Strategies
  12. Fiduciaries
  13. Planning Guide for Kids
  14. Planning Guide for Marrieds
  15. Planning Guide for Singles
  16. Planning Guide for Unmarried and Same-Sex Couples
  17. Planning Guide for Second Marriages
  18. Planning Guide for the Family Business
  19. Planning Guide for Noncitizens
  20. Planning Guide for Your Parents
  21. Planning Guide for Special-Needs Children
  22. Action Guide: Getting Started
  23. Action Guide: Completing Your Plan
  24. Action Guide: Reviewing What You Have
  25. Estate Analysis Checklist: Married
  26. Estate Analysis Checklist: Single
  27. Financial Worksheet: Married
  28. Financial Worksheet: Single
  29. Glossary
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