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What happens to an individual's estate after they are gone is very much within their control. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy; it is for everyone. It is simply the process of deciding where your assets are to be distributed after your death. For those people who wish to preserve their assets for designated purposes ‑ such as family or special charities ‑ it becomes necessary to make special advance preparations. Performing these important preparations is commonly referred to as estate planning. For an individual to help ensure that his assets are protected and final wishes carried out, there are some common actions that need to be taken now. Proper estate planning allows you to plan for yourself and your loved ones without giving up control of your affairs. Your estate plan should allow for the possibility of your own disability. It should give what you own to whom you want, at a time of your choosing, the way you want. Your estate plan should include fully disclosed, controlled costs for you and for those you love. The last thing you want to worry about is having it drained of value through taxes and legal costs. The right plan can protect the value of your estate and spare your loved ones unnecessary hassles and legal conflicts. This new book will help you glide through the complicated process. One of the biggest issues you need to consider is estate taxes. For starters, Uncle Sam begins collecting gift taxes at the $1 million level. Married couples with estates over $4 million are subject to estate taxes that soar up to 46 percent and if you wish to leave money to grandchildren, estate taxes can reach as high as 73 percent! Many books on estate planning indicate you do not need the services of an attorney, but we highly recommend an attorney versed in this area to assist you. You should not go through the process alone. What this book will do though is explain the complicated issues, terminology, and planning strategies of estate planning to the lay person (me and you) so that when you do meet with a qualified attorney, you will be well prepared. You will understand legal terms and be ready to discuss issues and strategies with familiarity, saving time and legal fees and ensuring peace of mind. Some of the contents of the book are wills, assets, and settlement costs, probate, guardianship and minor children, executors and trustees, life insurance, living trusts, living wills, durable power of attorney, catastrophic illness, potential long-term care needs, marital deductions, types of trusts, federal and state estate exemptions, irrevocable life insurance trusts, gift splitting, survivorship deeds, charitable remainder trusts, 529 plans, health care proxy, power of attorney, reducing or eliminating estate taxes, avoiding tax on life insurance, using insurance to pay estate taxes, gift tax issues, generation skipping transfer tax, and tax deferred accounts. Estate planning should be a positive experience. It involves reviewing your situation and planning for your future. Although most people also find it unpleasant to think about the possibility of disability or death, advance planning is also a way to show your love and to reduce potential distress later. Get started today.