The topic of estate planning is misunderstood and wrapped in mystery for most individuals. Easy to understand why. Pop culture has evolved to label estate planning as something only the wealthy need. After all, what images pop into your head when you hear the term estate planning? Rolling estates, mansions and huge bank accounts.
Estate planning at its core is a simple idea. Yes, there are tactics that might seem complicated. However, when you boil down estate planning, it is planning for how the things you own pass on after your death.
What is the number one mistake you can make relating to your estate? Failing to have a plan.
There are many important issues to consider when developing a plan. The least of which is how your assets (your property) will pass on after your death and who will receive them.
The goal of a plan is control. Without a plan, you give up control how your property will be distributed. Without a Will, you shift the decision how your estate will transfer from you to the state.
What can you do to ensure this does not happen? Takes steps today and start a conversation with you and family.
There are professionals who make up a typical estate planning team.
Insurance Agent: An agent might seem an odd place to start. However, your insurance agent is commonly the person who starts the conversation. An agent can also help if products such as life insurance, long-term care or annuities could benefit your plan.
Attorney: An attorney is responsible for developing the legal documents and transfer strategies for your estate. An attorney will draft a will, trust or other estate documents.
Accountant: An accountant aids with potential tax issues. If an individual’s estate is large, there may be tax issues such as federal estate and income taxes. If you plan to give to family or charity, an accountant can help develop a plan that is tax compliant.
Broker: If you own securities, involving your broker in the planning process helps ensure your plan is consistent with your investing strategies.
The process: Once you meet with a professional. They will complete a financial profile. A financial profile lists your assets and offers a snapshot of where you are financially. Next, is discussing how you want your estate to transfer.
Next is involving the other members of the estate planning team. The cost to develop a plan will depend on the level of planning needed. Having a will drafted is the simplest estate plan you can have. A living trust or advanced legal documents will likely increase the cost.
Cost is often the concern that impedes individuals from starting the estate planning process. However, when you consider the cost and complication to your family.
A plan can be complicated or simple. Conversing with a professional can help evaluate potential issues and start the process.
Neither Barry Taylor, Integrated Planning Solutions nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for tax or legal advice. Consult with your legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situation before making any tax or legal related decisions.