Estate Planning

Estate Planning_landing page

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF ESTATE PLANNING

Why do estate planning? It’s really a matter of control.

If you don’t create your own plan, your state most likely has already created one for you – and that state plan won’t take into account the special needs of you and of your family.

A good estate plan will afford you more control over your assets during your life; provide care if you incur a disability; and allow for the transfer of wealth to whom you want, when you want, at the lowest possible cost.

Done correctly, an estate plan will coordinate with your overall investment, business, and insurance plans. Common estate planning issues addressed in the wealth management process include wealth transfer, minimization of transfer taxes, asset protection, and charitable giving.

We also point out that estate planning is not just for the wealthy.
In fact, planning may be more important for smaller and midsize estates because a misstep could have a greater impact on one’s heirs.

Larger estates involve complex strategies and are supported by a team of experts, including an estate planning attorney, a CPA, and a financial advisor.

Examine Your Current Plan
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when evaluating your current estate plan:

  • Do the ownership and beneficiary designations of my property and retirement plans reflect my estate plan?
  • Am I taking advantage of the annual gift tax exclustion?
  • Am I currently gifting to charities?
  • Are my revocable trusts funded?
  • Will my life insurance be received estate-tax-free?
  • Will my retirement plan force unnecessary income taxes for my heirs?
  • Is my business succession plan equitable?
  • Do my heirs understand my estate plan? 

HELP YOUR HEIRS LOCATE IMPORTANT ESTATE DOCUMENTS

Here are two helpful tools for making sure your heirs can find online and hard copy information regarding your estate.

  • Digital Estate Information–Storing key documents on the computer is a common practice, and this online organizer provides secure access to the pertinent information.
  • Vital Documents Locator–Complete this simple form to let your heirs know exactly where to find estate information, from last will and testament to financial records.
  • Caregiving Readiness Guide–The checklists in this document are designed to help you organize critical data and leave instructions for family before you face any significant life events.