For some people, financial planning is mainly concerned with how best to go about building a nest egg, and how to make it last through retirement. But for many, there is a desire to ensure their estate delivers benefits beyond their own retirement, and produces a lasting legacy even after they have passed.
Why Planning your Legacy Is Important
If you wish to leave behind a lasting legacy, whether it’s for family and loved ones or a charitable institution, then you need to put a well-thought-out Estate Plan in place, so your legacy is established in accordance with your wishes. Without such a Plan, strangers (the State, Lawyers or individuals that don’t have your interests in mind) could determine what happens to your Estate.
If you wish to ensure that you are in control of what happens to your estate, and if you want to guarantee that your estate is handled in accordance with your directives, then having an Estate Plan is paramount.
What We Can Do For You
While we are not licensed lawyers and cannot create the estate documents for you, we can put you touch with local attorneys who specialize in estate law. We are here to educate you on the importance of each part of your estate plan and establish lines of communication with executors, beneficiaries, and your trusted contacts in order to make the transition of assets easy during what is a very stressful time. We can also help you fund your trust, maintain up to date beneficiaries, and help consolidate accounts to make it as streamlined as possible.
Items to consider in a well thought out estate plan
- The Will: This is Estate Planning 101 and the document most people think of when they hear estate plan. But this is just one piece. However, without it, the state could potentially be the entity dictating how your assets will be divided. Like any part of a financial plan, this document should be updated due to life events such as marriage, children/grandchildren, divorce, death, or other major change to the family.
- Powers of Attorney (POA) and Medical Directives: What happens to your assets if you can no longer make decisions for yourself? While we don’t want to contemplate a time that we can’t handle our financial affairs, it is an obstacle to prepare for. Through a thought-out Power of Attorney, you have specifically designated who is to manage these decisions for you. By having this in place before something happens gives allows you to still dictate your wishes and minimizes the guess work. And the same goes for your Medical Directive. Only you know your wishes and if you want those wishes to be acted on, it is imperative to have this in writing.
- Choosing Executors: The Executors of your Estate wield strong powers that determine how your Estate is finally dealt with upon your passing.
- Designating beneficiaries: If you don’t choose beneficiaries for your assets, your estate assets might well end up in the hands of individuals that you never intended should benefit from them. Beneficiary reviews are part of the ongoing monitoring of any well thought out financial plan.
- Setting up a trust: Though you may no longer be here, many of your assets – like your long-term investments, property and other tangible assets – will likely need care, protection and management until they are finally disposed of. Depending on your unique situation, a trust might be something you will need to create in your estate plan. It gives your heirs more privacy upon your death and you more control on how your assets are divided. Consult your attorney to see if a trust is appropriate for you.
- Continuing your legacy: Once the various pieces of your estate plan are integrated with your overall financial plan, we can help transition the assets to your heirs. We review with the beneficiaries any constraints (i.e. trust distribution rules), potential tax ramifications, and look to integrate your wishes into their own long term financial plan.
*Please note, we are not attorneys and do not have anyone on staff who is a licensed attorney. The information provided here is for informational use only. Please consult an estate planning attorney to discuss your situation. If you need help connecting with an attorney, please let us know how we can help.