Estate planning is a good idea for everyone. It isn’t the exclusive domain of “the wealthy” or “the upper crust.” Nor is it only for people nearing retirement. You may never have thought about it, but you do have an estate. Your estate is everything you own and includes your car, home, checking and savings accounts, life insurance, investments, household items and personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and you can’t take it with you.
Estate planning is for everyone.
People that have built significant wealth probably think about estate planning more than those with less, but good estate planning actually means more to families with modest assets because they can afford to lose the least. Or maybe you have established investments and considerable assets that will help you retire comfortably and provide an income for your surviving heirs.
Unfortunately, we can’t successfully predict how long we will live, and illness and accidents happen to people of all ages. What happens to your estate upon your demise? Will lack of prior planning create a burden for your family when you’re gone?
It’s a matter of when, not if.
Estate planning is the process of determining the value of your assets and providing instructions as to the transfer of those assets. It ensures that your wishes are carried out, and legally states whom you want to receive something, what you want them to receive, and when they can receive it.
Many people avoid estate planning because they think they don’t own enough, they’re not old enough, they’re too busy, they don’t know who can help them, or they just don’t want to think about the inevitable. Unfortunately, when something happens to them, their families have to figure out what is left behind.
Sound Advice Financial can help with your estate planning, and help you:
- Provide for family members with special needs
- Provide financial security for loved ones
- Include life insurance benefits for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work, and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care
- Include instructions for passing your assets to family members or favorite organizations
- Minimize taxes, court costs, and legal fees
How important is estate planning? If you don’t have a plan for your estate, your state does. And you won’t like it.
If you become mentally or physically incapacitated and cannot conduct business, the probate court, not your family, will control how your assets are used to care for you. If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the probate laws of your state which may not be according to your wishes.
Wouldn’t you prefer that your estate be handled by your family and not by the courts? Wouldn’t you rather determine who receives what and when? Estate planning will ensure your wishes are respected. There are some easy and straightforward steps you can take to get everything in order.
Planning your estate helps you get organized.
Would your family know where to find all of your financial records, deeds, titles, and insurance documents if something happened to you? Planning your estate helps you organize your records, locate titles, confirm or update beneficiary designations, and find and correct errors.
Estate planning doesn’t have to be expensive.
The misperception most people have about estate planning is that it is complicated and expensive. For most people, that is not the case.
Start with the basics. For a young family or single adult, that may mean a simple will, term life insurance, and powers-of-attorney for your assets and health care decisions. Then, you can let your plan develop and expand as your needs change and your financial situation improves. Many times something as simple as how assets are titled can save money and taxes as well as help to keep finances private at the time of your passing.
Once you acquire significant assets, or your family grows, more detailed planning alternatives will need to be considered. If you own and run a business, if you have extended families due to second marriages with children, or if you have special needs children, all will require a higher level of planning. We can help you think through your situation, and with the help of your legal and tax advisors, develop a strategy to address your needs.
The best time for estate planning is now.
No one likes to think about our mortality or being incapable of making decisions for ourselves. This is why so many families are unprepared when illness or death happens. Don’t wait. You can always change your plan at a later date, which is exactly how estate planning should be done.
The best benefit of planning may be peace of mind.
Knowing you have a solid plan in place that contains your instructions and will protect your family will give you the opportunity for peace of mind. A well-planned estate is one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for those you love.
Estate planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Sound Advice Financial will help you periodically review and update your plan as your family and financial situation changes over time.
With a solid estate plan in place, planning well will help your loved ones live well.