Estate planning helps create an organized estate and is just one of the components necessary to pursuing your retirement dreams.
Effective estate management enables you to manage your affairs during your lifetime and control the distribution of your wealth after death. An effective estate can spell out your healthcare wishes and ensure that they’re carried out – even if you are unable to communicate. It can even designate someone to manage your financial affairs should you be unable to do so. Our estate planning process includes:
Review Existing Estate Plan
A will; living will; health care proxy; durable power of attorney; and trust are, at a minimum, the documents everyone should consider to build their estate plan. We’ll review what you have, how relevant the plan still is to you and whether the plan may be outdated.
Attend Meetings with Attorney
Most estate plans need to be coordinated with your financial and investment plans.
It’s important to us that we understand how the implementation of the estate plan needs to be carried out and allows us to help you implement your plan. By attending at least one meeting with your attorney, we’ll be able to ask specific, pertinent questions that will help us help you. If you’re not currently working with an Estate Planning Attorney we can refer one to you.
Provide Asset Re-Titling Services
Often an estate planning attorney will recommend assets be held, or owned, by a certain individual, trust or entity. When assets need to have an ownership change, we can assist in that process by working with the various custodians who hold your accounts.
Review Beneficiary Designations
IRAs and Life Insurance have beneficiary designations. Without one, the assets go into your estate . . . which could mean the account is closed out. Any tax-deferred assets could become taxable immediately. We like to make sure you have at least a primary beneficiary, and preferably contingent beneficiaries. The primary goal is to avoid unintended consequences of accelerated taxation, ensuring beneficiaries follow the estate planning goals (a named designated beneficiary “trumps” the will), or allowing provisions to force a “stretch” IRA on the beneficiaries. With some custodians, clients can elect to have each beneficiary receive only the minimum required by law, until they turn a certain age. You can effectively leave them an income stream until they attain a certain age, or for life . . . and at your discretion.
Estate planning can involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. You should consider the counsel of an experienced estate planning professional before implementing any strategy.