Many people think of estate planning as something they need to address “sometime” before they die.
Since death may seem like a distant and/or unsettling reality, estate planning gets put on the back burner. Yet even the youngest and seemingly healthiest among us aren’t guaranteed a long lead time during which essential decisions need to be made.
Moreover, your estate plan can take care of you and your loved ones as much while you are alive as it does after you’ve passed. Estate planning is an important part of your overall financial health.
Does your estate plan have these three important documents?
Durable Power of Attorney
Allows others to act on your behalf if you are unable to make your own financial decisions.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
Allows you to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. In conjunction with this, families create living wills and advance medical directives that are tailored to meet individual state statues to accompany this piece.
Last Will and Testament
Allows you to transfer property to designated heirs upon your death. You also have the ability to apportion estate taxes, designate a guardian for minors, specify charitable bequests, and create testamentary trusts.
Other areas we encourage you to review are asset ownership and beneficiary designations to ensure orderly transfers are consistent with your wishes. These include transfer by contract (retirement plans and life insurance policies) and transfer by operation of law (joint tenancy and trusts). Reviewing this annually with your team of advisors can be beneficial to ensure that you don’t forget something important.
Often times, people look at estate planning as a one-time event; after you have completed the initial paperwork, you never have to review or update the piece again. What we have found, is that estate planning is a process. Just as we continue to grow and our priorities in life change, we see estate planning as an evolution of your legacy.
We help our clients navigate this journey in a few ways.
- Discussing your estate planning goals every few years and reviewing documents that are more than five years old.
- Helping families communicate meaningful wishes and sharing best practices for storing your most important documents.
- Encouraging you to have the “living room” conversations with your family and your professional advisors so that you can have peace of mind.
Many estates end up in probate, which is a public process that can be both time-consuming and expensive. With proper planning and periodic reviews, you can be assured that your intentions are followed and you can avoid unintended consequences.
Planning for your future and the future of your loved ones.
Our team would be happy to review your existing estate plan and discuss additional strategies with you. We will partner with your estate planning attorney to ensure implementation of the most advantageous and tax efficient planning strategies are put in place.
This information is not intended to be a specific recommendation. If you are interested in exploring these strategies to see if they are applicable to your specific situation please contact us. The information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge.
Meet the Author
Abbey Rollins, CFP®
Abbey joined Aldrich Wealth in 2007, after spending five years at a traditional brokerage firm. Abbey’s goal was to focus on personal financial planning, which was not a service valued in the brokerage industry. Shortly after joining the firm, Abbey obtained her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner designation (CFP®) and greatly expanded the financial planning services…
- High net worth families, business owners and medical practitioners
- Series 7, Series 66 and Series 31 securities exams
- Certified Financial Planner™