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legacy planning

Trusts

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party (also known as a trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts, and they can be quite complex to set up and execute effectively. However, a trust can be a very flexible and advantageous means to specify exactly how and when your assets are being transferred to your beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries in the future. Most trusts can also provide current benefits, such as tax deferral and deductions. (If it is an irrevocable trust for example it may not be considered part of the taxable estate, so fewer taxes may be due upon your death). Unlike a will, a trust may help avoid probate upon your death, which means that your beneficiary or beneficiaries may gain access to the assets designated to them more quickly than they might to assets that are transferred using a will. Assets in a trust may also be able to pass outside of probate, saving time, court fees and potentially reducing the taxes on your estate as well.

Trusts with Bussenger Financial GroupTo learn more about different types of trusts and how they may benefit your financial stability and peace of mind, we will be happy to help you consult a qualified estate planning attorney that may help meet your individual needs in these matters.

Probate

Probate is the potentially lengthy and costly legal process that oversees the transfer of your assets upon your death. If you do not create a will or set up a trust to transfer your property when you die, state law will determine what happens to your estate. This is called intestate. Without a will or some other form of legal estate planning, there is the chance that your assets may not be distributed in the manner that you desire.

Essentially, probate refers to the process whereby certain debts of a decedent may be settled and the legal title to the decedent’s property held in the decedent’s name alone and not otherwise distributed by law, and is then transferred to heirs and beneficiaries. If a decedent had a will, and the decedent had property subject to probate, the probate process begins when the executor (who is nominated by the decedent in their last will) presents the will for probate in a courthouse in the county where the decedent lived or owned property. If there is no will, someone must ask the court to appoint him or her as administrator of the decedent’s estate. Often times this is the spouse or an adult child of the decedent. Once appointed, the executor or administrator becomes the legal representative of the estate.

It may seem like a very daunting, complicated process but at Bussenger Financial we’ll do our best to simplify the process and alleviate the headache as much as possible.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is simply determining (while you’re still alive) where your assets should go after you die. Many people believe that they do not need estate planning because they are under the false impression that they do not have an estate, or maybe they simply thing that the value of their current estate is not high enough to cause estate taxation, so what’s the point?

Well, with very few exceptions, everyone has an estate. If you own anything of value that you would wish to pass on to someone else upon your death, you do in fact have an estate to consider. Whether you realize it or not, you actually also have an estate plan already in place. If you never get around to writing your will or designing your individual estate plan, the state provides one for you. But without a properly structured estate plan tailored to your desires, your wishes may not be fulfilled, and your loved ones could be hurt both emotionally and financially.

While the concept is simple, the vehicles, planning and implementation process can be rather complex. Because of the potential impact of changes to estate tax law for 2013 and emerging vehicles to help you protect and transfer your assets effectively, it’s important to work with experienced estate planning professionals who stay current in this field and advise clients on a day-to-day basis.

We can refer you to professionals to help meet your individual needs.

Charitable Giving

In addition to the goodwill and altruistic benefits of any sort of charitable contribution, creating a charitable giving plan may also provide you with multiple tax breaks or advantages. These can include an income tax deduction (charitable contributions are generally 100% deductible from estate taxes), the avoidance of capital gains on highly appreciated assets and no estate taxes on the charitable contribution upon your death.

. It’s a great way to help the charity of your choice while simultaneously providing you with a steady stream of income and other potential benefits to both you and your heirs.

With the increasing tax environment we expect in the U.S. in coming years, there may be compelling reasons to integrate philanthropy into your financial and estate planning.

The simplest way to include a charitable contribution in your estate is through your will. The amount you give won’t reduce your income taxes, but it could reduce your taxable estate, potentially increasing the amount you’ll be able to leave to your heirs. Donating a retirement account is another straightforward and tax-effective way to support a charity. Basically you are designating the charity as the beneficiary to your account. Since the charity is exempt from both income and estate taxes, it can receive 100% of the account’s value. You can leave non-retirement assets, which don’t have the same income tax burden to your children.

There are other more seemingly complicated routes to approach charitable giving, but at Bussenger Financial we can help you find a qualified professional who can best assist you with this and take the headache out of the process.

Asset Protection

The goal of asset protection is to work with you to best compartmentalize the sorts of risks your assets may face and in turn properly establish a solid protection plan. Because the market does not provide security, you may want your financial strategies to include some secured income products. For example, annuities, which are insurance products with guarantees*, can provide a source of supplemental income throughout your retirement.

Twenty-first century asset protection (sometimes also referred to as debtor-creditor law) calls for more than just strategic allocation of assets. Product allocation—buying instruments that can protect your monies from market declines throughout your retirement— can be an effective means of protecting your assets.

Diversifying your retirement assets among a variety of vehicles— both through insurance products and investments depending on what is appropriate for your existing situation—may offer you the best chance of meeting your retirement income goals throughout your lifespan.

At Bussenger Financial, we will sit down with you to review your assets, risks and financial goals to create a sturdy legal barrier between your wealth and creditors. Once that barrier is established it does need to be maintained as your family or financial situation changes and the legal system is updated. We’re here to give you the piece of mind in knowing that the proper protection is in place, in compliance with current laws and properly reviewed and maintained.

*Guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company, and may be subject to restrictions, limitations or early withdrawal fees. Annuities are not FDIC insured.

To schedule a time to discuss your financial future, contact us by email at [email protected] or give us a call at (847) 516-8062 today!

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