November 2, 2016

Estate Planning

Many people think that Estate Planning is only needed for people who are considered to be wealthy, but that is not the case. In fact, everyone should consider having a well thought out and professionally designed Estate Plan.

What Is An Estate?

You might feel overwhelmed by this talk of estate planning but don’t be. The purpose of an estate plan is simple: to make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes while minimizing taxes and expenses upon your death.

The best place to start is with a complete list of the assets and types of property you own. From there, you’ll start to build an understanding of the complexity of your situation and the direction you’ll need to take in developing a plan to pass on your legacy to your loved ones.

Why You Need a Proper Estate Plan.

Even if you consider what assets you own to be of modest value, you will need to do some planning to ensure that your heirs receive assets in the most favorable way. There is an old saying and it is true – if you fail to do your estate plan then someone else will. A little planning on your part will make sure your beneficiaries receive what you intend and take away additional pressures off during what is already a difficult time. Basic estate planning involves preparing a Will and naming beneficiaries on retirement plans, insurance policies, brokerage and other savings accounts.

For those who may have more assets and thus may have more complex needs, you might need to consider creating a trust, selecting guardians for minor children, and having a flexible estate plan that can be adjusted to any changes in tax laws or other regulations. Having a well thought out and established estate plan is one of the most powerful planning tools that you can ever invest in and the result is that you will be sure your hard earned assets go to their intended recipients.

Generally, you should retain the help of an experienced elder law attorney to draft the documents for your plan. Your attorney may also suggest that you utilize the skills and help of a financial and insurance consultant, as well as possibly an accountant to help fine tune the details of the investment and tax issues involved in your estate plan.

What Do I Need To Do To Get Started?

After you make a list of your assets, you can start to formulate a plan.

Think about the types of assets you own and what should go to each heir. You might have certain property that you feel is better suited for one individual or organization than another. Or you might have special needs to address.

Regardless of your situation, an organized approach will help to create an good estate plan and provide a seamless distribution of assets to your heirs.