Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process. It involves your family and other individuals and, in many cases, charitable organizations of your choice. It also involves your assets (your property) and the various forms of ownership and title that those assets may take. And it can help address the future needs of you and your family.  Having an experienced financial planner join your team can offer numerous benefits to getting this process off the ground.  Contact us for a free consultation today.

Through estate planning, you can determine:

  • How and by whom your assets will be managed for your benefit during your lifetime if you ever become incapacitated.
  • When and under what circumstances it makes sense to distribute your assets both during your lifetime and after your death.
  • How and by whom your personal care will be managed and how health care decisions will be made during your lifetime if you become unable to care for yourself.

Many people mistakenly think that estate planning only involves the writing of a will. Estate planning, however, can also involve financial, tax, medical and business planning. A will is part of the planning process, but you may need other legal documents as well to fully address your estate planning needs.

Who needs estate planning?

You do—whether your estate is large or small. Either way, it is wise to designate someone to manage your assets and make health care and personal care decisions for you if you ever become unable to do so for yourself.  We often discuss various ways of preserving assets for your beneficiaries and of reducing or postponing the amount of estate tax which otherwise might be payable after your death. A financial planner can help you get started and advise you on some of these very important and complex issues. 

What are the risks of not planning ahead?

If you fail to plan ahead, a judge may simply appoint someone to handle your assets and personal care. And your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to a set of rules known as intestate succession. Needless to say, they may not be your choice of heirs; an estate plan gives you much greater control over who will inherit your assets after your death.

What is a will?

A will is a traditional legal document which:

  • Names individuals (or charitable organizations) who will receive your assets after your death, either by outright gift or in a trust.
  • Nominates an executor who will be appointed and supervised by the probate court to manage your estate; pay your debts, expenses and taxes; and distribute your estate according to the instructions in your will.
  • Nominates guardians for your minor children.

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