Since earning her MBA with a focus in accounting in 1986, Sue Ann Ma has gained considerable experience in the banking, insurance, and finance industries. She currently works as president of her own full-service certified public accounting firm, Seminal Financial Group, Inc. As a Master Certified Estate Planner, Sue Ann Ma also offers services in estate planning.
Estate planning is the act of allocating your estate before you pass away. Your estate consists of all the things you personally own: your bank accounts, house, car, individual possessions, and more. Estate planners help plan the who, what, where, and when of each item in your estate upon your death. They understand the tax, financial, and legal implications associated with estate property and are trained to minimize costs incurred to the beneficiaries of the estate.
In addition to property allocation, estate planners can also help with more individualized considerations. They can help plan an estate to provide for the insurance needs of the family after the decedent’s death. Estate plans may name a guardian for minor children and take care of their educational needs. Estate planners may also prepare disability contingency plans that allocate decision-making authority and provide for medical care in the event of disability.
There are two types of estate planners. Financial estate planners assist with the financial and tax implications associated with the estate. They can help determine the most fiscally-advantageous approach to allocating the estate. Conversely, estate planning attorneys draw up the documents that plan the estate, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.
If you do not plan for the disbursement of your estate before you pass away, its allocation will be subject to the probate and estate laws of your state. In general, states allocate the estate to the decedent’s spouse and children.
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