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What Entrepreneurs Should Know About Estate Planning

Under current law, the federal estate tax exemption will drop from $5,120,000 in 2012 to $1,000,000 in 2013 – a decrease of over 80%. If something happened to you, would your family be prepared? If you’ve built a business, would your heirs have to sell your company just to cover your estate tax bill?

Luckily, with a little bit of planning and forethought, your family can be prepared. The pros at Core Financial will create a comprehensive plan to protect your family and assets for years to come.  Below, you’ll find a few of the basics.

My father, a lifelong entrepreneur, died when he was 49. He left his family a solid will and a thriving business, which has sustained a wife, three sons and a nephew for 16 years. Aside from these two very important things, my dad did little in the way of estate planning.

Now my mother is experiencing a health crisis, and was recently admitted to an assisted-living facility. My brothers and I have been urging Mom to get her financial affairs in order, and over the past few months the family has had a crash course in estate planning.

Here’s what we’ve learned about some of the tools available to us:

A will provides clear, legally binding instructions about what happens with your money and possessions after you die. Simply telling relatives what you want to happen isn’t enough. Without a valid will or living trust, your state’s laws determine where your property goes after you die.

A living trust (or revocable living trust) helps your survivors avoid probate, the court process used to pay debts and distribute property to heirs. Some living trusts reduce taxes or protect financial privacy. A living trust doesn’t replace a will, but is worth considering (in addition to a will) if your estate is valuable…

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