What are the fundamentals of Estate Planning?
There are few things as intimidating as the project of estate planning. The best time to plan for your incapacity or death, though, is while you’re still healthy. With a little time, effort, and guidance from a trusted estate planning professional, you can develop a plan and obtain peace of mind. Failing to do so can place the security of your family and assets in jeopardy.
What is your estate?
Your estate is comprised of everything you own: your home, bank accounts, 401k, business holdings, investment accounts, etc. In addition to what you own, your estate must also consider your minor children and pets. It’s important to be thoughtful and strategic about how, when, and to whom your estate is divided and distributed. Inaction can lead to the government taking over control of the distribution of your assets after you pass. This is known as intestacy. This intestacy process leaves your loved ones with few options and places your legacy in the hands of the government.
The Benefits of an Estate Plan
A well-prepared estate plan can ensure the safety and security of your family long after you have passed. A financial planner can help you make important financial decisions about your estate while you’re still in good health and help ensure your trust is funded and safeguarded for the next generation. If your trust is unfunded (meaning you haven’t put anything in it) your loved ones could face a public, costly, and time-consuming probate experience upon your death. Don’t worry, funding the trust sounds complicated but working with a professional makes it fairly easy.
The Trouble With Using a Will Only
Many presume that a will is more than enough to convey their wishes for their estate after they pass. Unfortunately, with only a will, the plans for your assets is only effective upon your death and requires a probate court proceeding to work. If you become incapacitated, your assets will be under the control of a court-appointed conservator.
Even when your distribution plans for your assets are honored, it is easy for loved ones to see an inheritance as a windfall. Too often, a person’s legacy is frittered away by poor decisions made by grieving family members. That’s why most inheritances are gone within a mere five years of receipt. A failure to consider the long-term implications of their financial choices often results in one’s inheritance disappearing practically overnight. With proper estate planning, you can ensure your beneficiaries are taken care of and that the assets are distributed in a way that will be the most beneficial to all involved.
We can help you make the most informed decisions possible. Give us a call today to discuss how we can help preserve your legacy while planning for your future goals.