Many people think that the only professional with whom they need to consult during their estate planning is a lawyer. A lawyer will draw up the appropriate legal documents, such as your Revocable Living Trust, an Advance Medical Directive, your Last Will and Testament and any others that are consistent with the size of the estate and the needs of the client.
Handling all of the financial and tax planning, reporting and accounting for the assets and liabilities of the estate are major areas that should be handled by CPAs who are experienced with the laws and court procedures as they relate to estate planning. They will assist the family and advise the most tax beneficial financial plan for the estate.
Unfortunately, tax liabilities follow a person even after death. There must be a thorough accounting for assets of the estate. Tax payments and other debts must be paid before distribution to family members or others according to the wishes expressed in the will.
As we all know, tomorrow is never promised, so you are never too young to begin your estate planning. In fact, the years when you are raising a family and planning your future may be the most important time to make these critical decisions. Planning for your children’s future and your assets would ease the burden for the family should the breadwinner become incapacitated or worse.
At Turlington and Company, L.L.P., our CPAs are experienced in estate planning requirements for clients at any stage of life or financial status. It is the basic plan that is important. Having accounting records that are meticulous, knowing the costs of real estate holdings or business ownership can be invaluable in case of an unexpected illness or death.
No matter how limited the size of one’s assets, having a plan in place for the estate’s financial responsibilities can ease the process so that the estate can be moved through probate and settled quickly.
You may require advice on how best to utilize your financial position to set up trusts to handle medical costs in case of incapacitation, pay for your children’s education or to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Our experienced professionals can work with the executor to help with the required record keeping during the probate period. The estate must have clear and current records of all assets and the executor must keep records of all expenditures during the period when payments are being made for the liabilities of the estate. Only after all liabilities have been paid can the final distributions be made according to the terms of the will.
This process can be more time-consuming if accurate accounting records are not maintained. At Turlington and Company, L.L.P., we understand that this is an emotional time and when you have a professional with whom you can consult, it makes the executor’s job much easier.
Our staff is comprised of CPAs with experience in many areas of accounting, therefore you will be able to work with our estate planning and tax specialists. We have the depth of accounting knowledge to handle any estate or tax issues that may arise.
The most important take-away to keep in mind…start your estate planning early and you will always have a feeling of security and comfort that you have a plan in place for your assets and your loved ones.