Humanizing Estate Planning
As a financial planner, I often discuss various market, economic, and personal subjects with clients and others. Sometimes we focus on growing your nest egg, or we may talk about creating an income plan in retirement. Although investment management as it pertains to your risk tolerance and goals is definitely an important subject, an even more significant part of financial planning is preparing for passing on. This is referred to as "Estate Planning" in the wealth management profession.
No matter the size of your estate...
Considering what happens after we pass is not a light subject. Nor is it easy to make permanent decisions that cannot be changed once we are gone. This is why you need a team like ours to help you design a plan that helps you feel confident that you're prepared.
Protecting what's important to you is one of the most consequential aspects of wealth management.
We help our clients craft the legacy of their own design and we want to be there to see it through. Our client relationships last multiple generations because wealth is intertwined with family and community. Passing on not only your valuables how you see fit but encouraging you to put voice to your personal values at the same time is our forte.
How do you wish to be remembered?
Here are the important tools you need to get your estate plan in place:
The most basic form of estate planning is ensuring that all your financial accounts have established beneficiaries and are up-to-date. All too often, people set and forget who their beneficiaries are without realizing that those who we care for change over time.
Divorces happen, children and grandchildren are born, and people pass away. By ensuring you revisit your account beneficiaries yearly, you gain peace of mind knowing those who matter most will receive your help in the future.
While ensuring your beneficiaries are up-to-date is critical, once you have reached the phase in your life when you are married, have children or grandchildren, or have meaningful financial and personal assets, it is time to sit down to craft a will.
In essence, a will instructs how a court should disburse your assets after you are gone. It can be written in a simple format or crafted more complexly. However, what matters most is that you name who will receive your various belongings and possessions and oversee their disbursement.
Crafting a will ensures that you can control your legacy and includes more than just physical holdings. Wills can be used to hand out messages after you pass and allow you to be remembered through your actions.
Notably, a will is a document you can draft and sign in front of witnesses without an attorney. So, don't put off creating such a document; it can be simple, and all that matters is you put your heart into it to ensure you are deliberate with your choices.
3. Living Trusts & More
The final mainstay of estate planning is crafting a living trust, a power of attorney, and a medical directive. These three documents are powerful legal tools that give you more control and allow you to be more deliberate.
Living trusts are similar to wills, but they bypass probate courts, which can be costly and time-consuming. Further, they can be revised, allow you to keep your givings private, prevent challenges to asset disbursement, and more.
A power of attorney gives someone you trust the ability to make decisions for you if a scenario or future arises where you cannot do so. By designating this individual, you can ensure that financial and legal decisions are made only by a person you trust.
Lastly, a medical directive is a governing document that determines how healthcare decisions should be carried out on your behalf if you cannot provide consent. Such documents provide you with the last say in your health and are crucial to have in place as you reach the later stages of life. Not only do they give us control, but more importantly, they relieve our loved ones from having to make difficult decisions when their emotions are likely to be tumultuous.
Estate planning is a daunting subject that we are inclined to put off. However, by bringing it to the forefront and determining how we want to live and be remembered, the tools mentioned above can allow us to be more impactful during our lives.
If you have not started the estate planning process yet, or haven't reviewed your plan in some time, please set up an appointment with us today. We regularly help clients with their estate plans and are here to help. Further, we have trusted referrals who can help you draft the latter three documents.
So, until we speak, now is the time to ponder, "How do you want to live and be remembered?"
Talk to you soon.