Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P.


Serving Story County and Central Iowa since 1906

323 6th St.
Ames, IA 50010-0664
USA
 

Phone: (515) 232-4732
 

ESTATE PLANNING :: Back to Practice Areas

I. Overview
II. Wills and Trusts: Wills
III. Wills and Trusts: Trusts
IV. Asset Protection
V. Estate Planning and Elder Law
VI. Powers of Attorney
Frequently Asked Questions

SEE ALSO:


Overview

Estate planning, which includes legal documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, is the process of preparing instructions on how to manage your assets after your death. State and federal laws apply to estate planning, and so do taxes. In order to protect your assets, it may be necessary to create legal entities such as limited liability companies (LLCs) or family partnerships. The estate tax and other related issues are a hot political topic, and estate laws change often. It is vital to consult an experienced estate planning attorney, in order to protect your assets and meet the goals of your estate planning process.

Estate planning allows you to decide what will happen to your assets after your death. It allows you and your loved one to save time and legal costs, and avoid financial and administrative hassles. Your estate plan should include two vital documents; a will and a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to give directions to another person, who can then make legally binding decisions if you are unable to do so yourself.

A will is a legal document which provides instructions on how to deal with your property after your death.

In addition, other legal documents such as a health care proxy, a living will, and a revocable (or “living”) trust can help with decisions should you become incapacitated. A revocable trust can take control of your property before you die, allowing you and your family to avoid probate proceedings.

The basic purpose of estate planning is not simply to distribute property after death, but to reduce inefficiency and taxes throughout the probate process. Under the current federal estate tax law, the amount of federal estate tax depends on the value of the estate and the date on which the person died.  In 2007 and 2008, the tax is imposed on estates valued over $2 million.  In 2009, the tax is imposed on estates valued over $3.5 million. In 2010, no estate tax in imposed. In 2011, the tax is imposed on estates valued over $1 million.

Many states also impose an inheritance tax. Iowa does have an inheritance tax. Iowa does not impose an inheritance tax on the surviving spouse or on lineal descendents (children and their offspring) or on lineal ascendents (parents, grandparents, etc.). Iowa taxes the shares of other relatives and nonrelatives to varying degrees.

Estate planning is vital to work towards security and peace of mind for yourself and your family. If you need help an any stage in the estate planning process, you should contact a lawyer experienced in estate planning to ensure your needs are met and your estate is protected.


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DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is a public service and solely for informational and reference purposes. No legal service or advice is hereby provided. No attorney-client relationship is hereby created. This website may contain information addressing certain tax issues; however, it is not intended to constitute a reliance opinion as described in IRS Circular 230; therefore, it cannot be relied upon to avoid any tax penalties. The information provided here is without warranty of any kind whatsoever. Use at your own risk. No endorsement, warranty, or claim is made with respect to the works of others whose work may be referenced. Please seek the advice of an attorney for all legal matters.

Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., is an Iowa general practice law firm with practice including, but not limited to  Administrative Law, Adoption Law, Agricultural Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Banking Law, Business Law (including business organization, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), incorporations, and sales of businesses and business assets), Civil Rights, Commercial Law, Construction Law, Corporate Law, Criminal Defense, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law (including divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support, child custody, dissolution modification), Government, Government Contracts, Litigation, Personal Injury (including Motor Vehicle Accidents and Wrongful Death), Product Liability, Professional Negligence Law, Real Estate (including mortgage loan closings, IRC Section 1031 exchanges, subdivisions, platting, condominiums, and cooperative housing), Municipal Law, Taxation Law and Tax Preparation, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning & Probate Law (including financial and medical powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships, trust administration, and estate administration), Workers Compensation, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

The offices of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., are located in Ames, Iowa. The lawyers and staff of the Pasley and Singer Law Firm, L.L.P., serve clients throughout Iowa, including the cities of Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Slater, Zearing, Story City, Roland, McCallsburg, Colo, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Waterloo, Marshalltown, Boone, Webster City, Eldora, Grundy Center, Newton, Adel, Eldora, Ankeny, Johnston, Indianola, Cedar Falls, Jefferson, Marshalltown, Clarion, Knoxville, and the communities that make up Story, Polk, Linn, Webster, Blackhawk, Marshall, Boone, Hamilton, Jasper, Dallas, Hardin, Warren, Greene, Wright, and Marion counties.