Estate planning involves the preparation of documents such as probate, taxes and asset distribution usually in conjunction with professional advisors, that give direction on handing your affairs at disability or after death. While estates vary in size, nearly everyone has one. Included in an estate might be a home, financial accounts, investments, cars, insurance policies, furniture and personal possessions.
Estate planning is important for several reasons:
- In advance of you passing away, you will be able to decide how your assets will be distributed, to whom and when. You might also specify how or where they are distributed.
- Estate plans can help protect your beneficiaries by ensuring they receive their inheritance in a manner you specify. Frequently a feature of trusts, estate plans can also help protect inheritance from creditors or lawsuits.
- Estate planning can help you avoid probate, which can be a lengthy legal process in which the court system decides on the distribution of your assets after you pass away. Avoiding probate saves time and money, and usually goes a long way in keeping your affairs private.
- A solid estate plan can help minimize the tax bill to your beneficiaries, maximizing the amount of money they’ll get to keep in their pockets.
Peace of Mind
- Putting together a comprehensive estate plan will help you feel more confident about the future and offer peace of mind knowing your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. It can also help relieve the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.
While a core document in an estate plan is a will (a document specifying the distribution of your assets), estate plans also frequently include a schedule of assets or accounts, powers of attorney which give others the power to make decisions on your behalf, advanced care directives which let others make medical decisions for you and instructions for your heirs.
Overall, estate planning can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, protect your beneficiaries, minimize taxes, and provide peace of mind. Our wealth advisors and financial planners are seasoned professionals who have spent their careers dedicated to maximizing your probability of financial success. During your comprehensive financial planning process, we review existing estate plans and offer a “coaching” call to prepare you for meeting with an estate planning attorney.