If you hear the phrase “estate planning” and immediately tune out, you’re not alone. If you don't think estate planning is a priority, here's five reasons you might change your mind.
Think estate planning isn't for you? Think again.
Estate planning is often overlooked when it comes to preparing for retirement. Effective estate management enables you to manage your affairs during your lifetime and control the distribution of your wealth after death. An effective estate strategy 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.
Being intentional with your estate planning is a gift to your loved ones. Doing so not only benefits them, but it can also provide a great deal of peace for you, too. Consider these five tips below to determine whether you feel your estate planning is up to speed and to help ensure a seamless transition of assets once you're gone.
1. You Should Begin Estate Planning Early
A lot of people put off or wait to plan for their estate until they get a little older. However, life can be cruel and unfair, and tragedy strikes every day. If you have an accumulation of assets of any size, you should be planning your estate. The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to continue to grow your estate and keep a detailed record of your wishes.
Planning your estate is extremely important because it helps you to avoid probate court when you pass away. This is a lengthy process that can cost your heirs thousands of dollars in legal fees (as well as the obvious stress). If you have a will in place at the time of your death, the probate process is much quicker and less expensive for your family members.
2. Estate Planning is for Everyone
Maybe it’s the word “estate.” It sounds fancy and, well, it sounds like money, but some people assume that you only need to undergo estate planning if you have numerous assets worth a lot of money. However, there is no minimum amount that you need to make estate planning worth it. In reality, those with less should be focusing on estate planning more, as it allows them to be as cost effective as possible. Since estate planning consists of determining how everything you own will be divided amongst your family or friends, it’s essential for everyone to complete as a part of their retirement plan.
If you do not want your family members fighting over your belongings after your death, then it is best for you to plan ahead and figure out what goes where. This can be done through the process of making a will or trust. A will is a document that names who receives your assets after you pass away, while a trust is an arrangement by which someone else manages your assets until they are passed onto someone else.
Whether or not a person has any assets does not matter when it comes down to how important estate planning really is for everyone involved!
3. You Can Make Changes to Your Estate Plan
If you are like most people, you will be in a very different place in life than you are now when you first create your estate plan. This is why it's important to have an estate plan that can easily adapt to your changing needs.
Changes like marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or even new laws can make your old estate plan inadequate. As your situation changes throughout your life, you can easily make changes to your established estate plan. You’ll be able to change beneficiaries as needed, adjust the amount of assets that each beneficiary receives, or add in new beneficiaries if your family or close circle grows. Up until the day you pass away, estate plans can be legally changed, if the changes are done so without coercion and under the right frame of mind.
Reviewing your plan on a regular basis – and keeping your estate planning advisor up-to-date on any life changes – will help ensure your plan continues to work.
4. Plan Ahead if You're Giving to Charity
It's not uncommon to feel like the world is moving too fast, and you're constantly being pulled in a million different directions. That's why it's so important to take time to plan ahead. If you have any loved ones who depend on you, it's crucial that they know what they can expect from you when the time comes. This means having conversations about your end-of-life care and what kind of care you'd like to receive if you become incapacitated.
Planning ahead also gives you time to decide whether you want any of your assets to go to charity. If this is the case, having the conversation early will give peace of mind there's no surprises to come after you die. Do you want part of your estate to go to a favorite charity? Intestacy laws leave no room for charitable contributions. So, the only way to be charitable in death is to create an estate plan. And, if you have concerns about taxes, charitable estate planning can afford you tax breaks you otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.
5. You Don't Have to do it Alone
Estate planning can be intimidating, and it can also involve some complex rules and laws, creating pitfalls for those less experienced. A full-service Fiduciary advisor can help you navigate the process and put an effective plan in place.
Estate planning is not simply who gets your stuff when you die. Sure, that’s a part of it and an important part. But estate planning also includes planning for yourself in the event of your incapacity.
Working with a financial planner is a great way to ensure that your finances are in good standing now and in the future. It's important to have a trusted advisor at your side when it comes to your family's finances—someone who can help you make informed decisions about estate planning, retirement planning, and everything else in between. At Agemy Financial Strategies, we're here for you! We've been helping our clients live better lives for over 30 years and we're ready to help you, too.
Our mission is simple: we want our clients to feel confident knowing they have someone looking out for them and their estate planning needs. To schedule a consultation and discuss your options for estate planning, contact Agemy Financial Strategies here today.