The Essence of Estate Planning

Since none of us know the exact day and time we will die, time is the essence of a good estate plan. The Essence of Estate Planning

Having a good estate plan requires the self-realization that we will not live forever.   So given this fact, ask yourself “What will happen to all of my stuff, and who is going to take care of my overall well-being if I am not able?”  As you ponder this thought, either a sense of angst or peace will follow.  If you have angst then you probably need to do an evaluation of your current estate plan.

1.   “Just do it!” as the popular shoe company would say. Creating a well thought out estate plan can be overwhelming and like most overwhelming tasks in life, it’s easy to procrastinate. The hard truth is that the absence of a plan will put loved ones in a very burdensome reality.  The basic estate planning documents include a Living Trust, Wills, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directives.  In the event of death or incapacity without these documents, the state will step in and begin a probate proceeding or a conservatorship.  These proceedings are costly, time consuming, and stressful for the family.


2.   Funding the trust as is important as drafting the trust document itself.  A trust is ineffective if your assets (property and investment accounts) are not titled in the name of the trust.  This is a common mistake made by many so it’s important to make sure all your assets are titled correctly.


3.  Conduct a review of your retirement accounts and life insurance policies to make sure that your primary and contingent beneficiaries are named properly. Play out differing scenarios to make sure that you understand exactly how these assets will be treated both from a succession plan and a tax planning perspective.  Doing so could save the family from additional stress and unnecessary taxes.


4.  Death is not the only reason to create a plan. An unexpected or long term disability can have a bigger impact on your personal and financial affairs. Prepare for…

This article was sourced Senior News.

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