Estate Planning

Estate Plan Hero

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Everything you have accumulated during your lifetime is considered your estate. That includes your home, bank accounts, insurance policies, and other valuables as well. Ensuring that your legacy is carried out according to your wishes after you die requires a well planned strategy.

A Carefully Structured Estate Plan

  • Provides for orderly transfer of your property.
  • Provides for effective financial management.
  • Ensures care for your children and dependents.
  • Provides for proper account structuring.
  • Minimizes or defers estate taxes.
  • Taxes for your beneficiaries.
  • Bypasses probate and its related expense.
  • Relieves your family of additional debt and responsibility.

Failure to plan could result in undue financial and emotional strain for your family after you are gone. You can help make the transition to a life without you easier for your family with a well thought out plan.

When and How to Start

It’s important to have an estate planning strategy in place as soon as you have acquired assets or are legally responsible for minor children. Your specific plan may begin with a simple will and develop into a full-fledged strategy that includes joint accounts, beneficiaries, guardians, asset protection, and income tax reduction.

If you are ready to begin your estate planning process, call HVFCU Financial Services at 845.463.3366 or arrange for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. If leaving a message, please be sure to provide your name, contact information, and whether you prefer to be reached by phone or email.

Don’t let industry jargon prevent you from planning your estate. Our glossary can help acquaint yourself with some basic estate planning terminology.

Estate Planning Tools

Click a topic to learn more about each tool.


A Will is the most critical element of your estate plan. Without a will, a state court will choose an administrator for your estate upon your death. Regardless of any wishes you may have had for your property, it will be distributed according to state laws. Making a will and keeping it up-to-date enables you to:

  • Make provisions for family and loved ones
  • Name an experienced and trusted executor
  • Establish trusts to manage inheritances to minors

These tools may have a place in your estate plan as well:

Living Wills Provide for what kind of medical care you do or do not wish to have when you are unable to voice your desires
Living Trusts Allow you to transfer your assets to a non-public-record trust, managed by a trustee
Pour Over Provisions Enable you to direct any assets not held in your living trust to the trust upon your death, unifying your estate’s assets under one manager
Joint Ownership of Property Between You and Your Spouse Passes that property to your spouse outside of probate upon your death
Community Property Does not pass automatically to your spouse upon your death. Without a will, such property would pass according to the Laws of Interstate Succession
Beneficiary Designations Can allow significant assets to pass outside of probate to beneficiaries. Life insurance proceeds, annuities, and IRAs are among the assets that may be passed through beneficiary designation

Credit Shelter or By-Pass Trusts

Enable you to transfer assets to your heirs free of Federal estate tax, by dividing your estate into two parts upon your death. One part passes directly to your spouse while the other is placed in a trust created by your will.

A Two-Trust Estate Plan

A Two-Trust Estate Plan, using a credit shelter trust along with one other trust, saves estate tax the way a credit shelter does, but also places the other assets that pass to your spouse under the marital deduction in a trust, rather than passing to your spouse outright. You may give your spouse a lifetime power to distribute trust property, or give your spouse power to distribute property only by will.

QTIP Trusts

QTIP Trusts, or Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trust gives your surviving spouse a life income while you are able to choose who will receive property in the trust after your spouse¹s death. Your spouse may have to pay estate tax on QTIP trust assets but the assets themselves must be distributed as you have directed in your trust agreement.

Life Insurance

Life Insurance coverage allows your family to maintain their current lifestyle after you are gone. For large estates subject to tax, life insurance can help pay estate taxes without liquidating assets.

Lifetime Gifts to Family, Friends, and Charitable Organizations

Lifetime Gifts to Family, Friends, and Charitable Organizations within your lifetime can save on estate and gift taxes, preserving assets for your heirs.

Charitable Gifts

Charitable Gifts made during your lifetime or upon your death can also help reduce estate taxes. Gifts can be made outright or in a trust. Charitable gifts named in your will may be claimed as an estate tax deduction by your estate.

Gather Information to Start

To aid in planning your estate, it’s helpful to have as much of the following information on hand as possible.

  • The names, addresses, and birth dates of your spouse, children, and other relatives whom you might want to include in your will. List any disabilities or other special needs they may have.
  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of possible guardians (if you have young children) and executors or trustees.
  • The amount and sources of your income, including interest, dividends, and other household income, such as your spouse’s salary or income your children bring home, if they live with you.
  • The amounts and sources of all your debts, including mortgages, installment loans, leases, and business debts.
  • The amounts and sources of any retirement benefits, including IRAs, pensions, Keogh accounts, government benefits, and profit sharing plans.
  • The amounts, sources, and account numbers of other financial assets, including bank accounts, annuities, outstanding loans, etc.
  • A list of life insurance policies, including face amount, cash value, owner, insured, beneficiary, and loans against the policy.
  • A list (with approximate values) of valuable property you own, including real estate, jewelry, furniture, jointly owned property (name the co-owner), collections, heirlooms and other assets. This list could be cross-referenced with the names of the people you might want to leave each item to.
  • Any documents that might affect your estate plan, including prenuptial agreements, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, recent tax returns, existing wills and trusts, property deeds, and so on.

Resources for Your Benefit

You should always review your particular situation with your attorney or other advisors to see if any of these tools can be of benefit to your situation and added to your overall estate plan. We have a referral list of qualified tax accountants and attorneys in the area to help you in developing your estate plan. Brief overviews of referred affiliates are included in this brochure. These affiliates have gone through an extensive qualifying process to ensure the highest level of quality service.

This material is intended for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Consult a legal or tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

Investments are not deposits, are not obligations of the credit union, are not NCUA insured, have no credit union guarantee, are not guaranteed by any federal government agency, or by any affiliated entity. Investments involve risks, including the possible loss of principal. HVFCU Financial Services Consultants are registered representatives of and securities and insurance products are offered through LPL Financial and its affiliates, Member FINRA /SIPC.

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